A CENTURY OF UNCEASING WAR

The history of the fourteenth century is one of unceasing war. Wars were still wars waged by kings on kings, but they were also national wars, and they were like the hammer strokes on white-hot metal which create form out of shape-lessness. Once again let us trace the history on the map. In far-off Scotland the English dream of one realm of Britain was shattered at Bannockburn, where Bruce asserted the new conception, a popular conception, of nationality. His dream of a Scottish empire of Scotland, Ireland, and Man was only a dream, but he had created a nation. In Flanders, the trading burghers, the middle classes, were able to defeat the chivalry of France which sought to restore the old class domination of the feudal lord, and in Switzerland the mountaineers were able to assert the rights of men to be free against the claims of the Habsburgs. Bannockburn (1314), Courtrai (1302), Morgarten (1315)these are battles which have not only local significance, but mark a stage in the evolution of Western Europe.