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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/97

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47
After Fifty Years

that bear witness to the invincible power of the democracy, we may say that Russia was unwittingly the instrument that helped forward universal suffrage and Socialism itself. Because Bismarck united Germany for the advantage of monarchical and absolutist Prussia, Russia twice seconded the designs of Bismarck by a complaisant neutrality, once in 1866 against Austria, once in 1870 against France. Well, after all, Bismarck could only bind the different German States together by the tie of universal suffrage; he was forced to make it the golden ring of the new Empire. Moreover, the working class in Germany, which could not become fully conscious of its unity, and therefore of its existence as a class, in a divided and broken-up Germany, has developed its great political activity over the vast area of a united Germany.

To sum up, the way democracy has grown in Western European States has defeated and still defeats all attempts at violent intervention by the powers of oppression. It is not by any sudden explosion that democracy takes possession of States, and Socialism takes possession of the democracy. The laws by which, from 1860 to 1885, England has obtained an almost universal suffrage are as far-reaching in their effect as revolutions, and yet no one except persons of a certain learning knows the exact date at which they were passed. It is like the silent budding of the trees in spring. The new rĂ´le of the working class