History of Prussia, Volume 1

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General Books LLC, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 274 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1883. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... how correct in style and comely in shape, were nevertheless like a mere accumulation of statues, valuable only in art. The breath of life being denied to them, it was impossible for them to elbow their way among the energetic practical ideas which were then dominant in Europe. Even the influence from which they did derive a certain mechanical or automatic vitality, the revived Latin jurisprudence, was itself an alien intruder, without sympathy for the original native institutions into which it had forced its way, and still provoking friction at a multitude of points. But it is a great mistake to suppose that one must return to the speculations of Aristotle, and the Germanic practice of the antique world, for the principle of checks and balances in the state. A century later Montesquieu found it in the English constitution, uncorrupted by foreign alloy, modified only by the natural conditions of its own growth, erect, vigorous, active; and he correctly traced it back to the primeval woods of Germany.1 The inequality of classes in the Teutonic system was the germ of mixed government, or limited monarchy. It is now generally recognized that "a perfect democracy is the most perfect despotism." It is fully admitted in practice, even by republics where the will of universal suffrage is the supreme law, that the expression of that will must be tempered by mild formalities, and its execution made subject to prudent delays, without which an individual or a minority would have no defence against oppression, and impetuous councils no opportunity of revision. These are purely formal restraints, but they may be ascribed even in the most artificial system to a necessity as old as political government. They are indispensable to any state which lays claim to stability. In feuda...

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