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The Idea of Europe

Catriona Seth
Rotraud von Kulessa

8. Judgment on Perpetual Peace

Texte intégral

1Few historians can claim to have had an influence as durable as Englishman Edward Gibbon (1737–1794)1 with his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776), a study which shows its reader a retrospective panorama, but includes elements that allow us to envisage the future more serenely.

2It is the duty of a patriot to prefer and promote the exclusive interest and glory of his native country; but a philosopher may be permitted to enlarge his views, and to consider Europe as one great republic, whose various inhabitants have attained almost the same level of politeness and cultivation. The balance of power will continue to fluctuate and the prosperity of our own, or the neighbouring kingdoms, may be alternately exalted or depressed; but these partial events cannot essentially injure our general state of happiness, the system of arts, and laws, and manners.

3Edward Gibbon,
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776– 1788).

Read the free English text online (1997 edition):​files/​25717/​25717-h/​25717-h.htm

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