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Progress in Federation of Nations


Mr. W. Alison Phillips, of London, General Assistant Editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and University Extension Lecturer, spoke on "The Concert of Europe and the Federation of the World" last night in Emerson D.

The concert of Europe is a historical fact; the federation of the world is so far no more than a poetic fancy. The results of the first Hague Conference in 1899 and that of 1907 are abundant proof of this. Although the conference of 1899 did not succeed in its main object, namely, to reduce the armed forces and the armament of the nations of the world, it did accomplish one great thing, the establishment of a permanent court which makes it improbable in the highest degree that civilized nations will go to war without first using every other possible resource, and unless the problems at issue are of fundamental and vital importance. That the concert of Europe had for some purposes at least grown into a sort of federation of the world, is seen by the fact that while at the first Hague Conference, but 26 of the 59 sovereign powers of the world were represented, at the Hague Conference of 1907 49 powers were represented.

The idea of a federated Europe developed and took shape in the struggle of the European powers against Napoleon. This confederation, of course, excluded France. After the Napoleonic wars France was necessarily considered in any idea of a federation of European powers. During the nineteenth century, however, the spirit of confederation was displaced by a strong spirit of nationalism, which was the most potent cause of war.

The question which confronts us today is whether or not any means may be devised of permanently altering this state of affairs and placing the peace of the world on a secure foundation. The United States by its powers of assimilation and by instilling into its millions of immigrants a common national spirit is doing a great deal towards wiping out race prejudice, one of the most serious menaces to the peace of the world.

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