THE FLAG AND THE VOTE

TWO forces had been developing during the three centuries preceding the French Revolution. One was Liberalism, which went much further than oligarchic parliamentarian-ism. It was a demand by the whole educated middle class to share in government. It was not what the twentieth century would call democracy; its demands were merely for some sort of elected parliament, freedom of discussion in speech and in the newspapers which were springing up, and trial by jury, Given these, most liberals would have been-for the time being-content. There were few countries where these things were obtained without a long struggle, bloodshed, and suffering. Even in England, freedom of speech and of the Press was an acquisition of the late eighteenth century and was usually suspended in wartime.

The other force was military and political nationalism as distinguished from cultural nationalism. There had been plenty of international brawling between states, but now something more intense had emerged-the acceptance of the idea of nationality, its embodiment in flags and names, and the cheerful willingness of national groups to fight, suffer, and oppress other groups.

England developed this feeling as early as Elizabeth's days, though it was still only an English nationalism; Scots and Irish did not share it. France and the Dutch did the same. Similar feeling in Spain and Russia was shown during Napoleon's invasions. Germany and Italy had never hitherto known unity or nationality, but the French first broke down many internal state barriers and then goaded the inhabitants by taxation and conscription to prefer even bad native kings rather than the oppressive French.

During the nineteenth century this national idea appeared in many parts of the world. The new nations, like the old monarchies, scrambled for territory and trade, on the assumption that national groups have personality apart from the assembly of individuals of which they are composed, and that it is natural and right for them to obstruct each other's good if there is the smallest danger of themselves being in any way damaged or disparaged by it. Nationalism made the World War of 1914-18 and its conceptions were embodied in the Versailles Peace of 1919, when internationalism was already coming to the fore. We now condemn the peacemakers of 1815, who ignored nationality and thought only of dynasties and the balance of power. Future Europeans will probably say that the peacemakers of 1919 were also guilty of an offence against mankind when they allowed groups of politicians and soldiers to set up new national states, which frequently tyrannised over alien minorities.