Signs of the Times

[Excerpts from "Modern Democracies," by James Bryce (Viscount Bryce)]

"Changes which it would have needed a century to effect may now come in three or four decades. Superstitions and all else that is rooted in religion hold out longest; but the habits of deference and obedience to earthly powers can crumble fast, and as they crumble self–reliance grows. Thus the capacity for self–government may be in our time more quickly acquired than the experience of the past would give ground for expecting."

"The right way to judge democracy is to try it by a concrete standard, setting it side by side with other governments. If we look back from the world of to-day to the world of the sixteenth century, comfort can be found in seeing how many sources of misery have been reduced under the rule of the people and the recognition of the equal rights of all. If it has not brought all the blessings that were expected, it has in some countries destroyed, in others materially diminished, many of the cruelties and terrors, injustices and oppressions."

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June 25, 1921

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