People often only remember the history spectacular events and the biggest gestures. I personally think so very unfortunate, most of the lessons that we could learn are not in fact those big events but in the persistence of fundamental adjustments that lead to real changes slowly and without too much fuss.
Take the emergence of the (federal) republic as a modern one state form. It is often thought that it came about as a result of the French revolution or the American independence war.
Nothing could be further from the truth, the first and for a long time the only one
(federal) republic are the united 7 provinces. It showed in the 17th century
that you could be a country without emperor or king. In the 18th century she proved something even more important, namely that this form of governance was stable.
The 18th century is often seen as a boring period in the
Dutch history, and admit it was not at all at all
so spectacular. The Netherlands had to rule the seas over the English
And on land it had to keep the French friends who use every excuse
wanted to invade and plunder those rich provinces. Happy
the Holy Roman Empire hung like loose sand to each other otherwise the challenges would be
have been even bigger.
Yet the Netherlands was very special at the time, it was one
period of relative prosperity, relative peace and with it showed the only one
federal republic in the world that such a federal republic is a fine
functioning state. The Dutch experiment made once and for all
for all clear that kings and emperors are not indispensable at it
national government. Of course, it was not yet a democratic form of government
our current standards, but it is often underestimated how much further one is already
then was the rest of the World.
Now compare that with the later French revolution, which already
quickly died of bloodthirst and power politics, and partly because of that ended
in just another empire, bad republic in name. Like the Batavian
republic, which started with biggest plans but realized little to nothing, they
was also a bad republic in name. The French (later even the French Emperor)
were just the boss and ruled as an occupation force.
If you think it is nice, but what else did it yield
remember that the American Founding Fathers like this Dutch example
one of their starting points when setting up their federal republic.
The lessons of the Napoleonic degeneration were not important to them, but
the example of the republic of the 7 provinces that remained true to it
principles and managed to maintain itself in the most from 1648 to 1790
turbulent piece of the world.
The history of the United States has then
demonstrated that the Federal Republic can be an extremely successful form of state
to be. The small Republic of the 7 Provinces set the example, the US built there
a world power.
In history, for example, small things that persister far more than major events.
Curious about that small tough Republic, Emporium CS has a nice selection of publications and ordinances from the 18th century. In this way you are reminded daily of the power of perseverance.