By John Fiske

ISBN-10: 1103909452

ISBN-13: 9781103909452

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Extra resources for American political ideas viewed from the standpoint of universal history: Three lectures delivered at the Royal institution of Great Britain in May, 1880,

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At the beginning of the fifth century an enormous horde of yellow Mongolians, known as Huns, poured down into Europe with avowed intent to burn and destroy all the good work which Rome had wrought in the world; and terrible was the havoc they effected in the course of fifty years. If Attila had carried his point, it has been thought that the work of European civilization might have had to be begun over again. But near Chalons-onthe-Marne, in the year 451, in one of the most obstinate struggles of which history preserves the record, the career of the “Scourge of God” was arrested, and mainly by the prowess of Gauls and of Visigoths whom the genius of Rome had tamed.

It is by no means so fully realized even now that a clear and thorough-going statement of it has not somewhat an air of novelty. When the highly-civilized community, representing the ripest political ideas of England, was planted in America, removed from the manifold and complicated checks we have just been studying in the history of the Old World, the growth was portentously rapid and steady. There were no Attilas now to stand in the way,—only a Philip or a Pontiac. The assaults of barbarism constituted only a petty annoyance as compared with the conflict of ages which had gone on in Europe.

Nay more, we even see a curiously disputed presidential election, in which the votes of the southern states were given almost with unanimity to one of the candidates, decided quietly by a court of arbitration; and we see a universal acquiescence in the decision, even in spite of a general belief that an extraordinary combination of legal subtleties resulted in adjudging the presidency to the candidate who was not really elected. Such has been the result of the first great attempt to break up the federal union in America.

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American political ideas viewed from the standpoint of universal history: Three lectures delivered at the Royal institution of Great Britain in May, 1880, by John Fiske


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