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Crises of Nations

( Originally Published 1927 )


THERE are brief crises in which the drift of individual and national history is determined, sometimes unexpectedly ; critical moments on which great decisions hang; days which, like a mountain in a plain, lift themselves above the dead level of common days into everlasting eminence. Our Day of Independence was such a day; so was the day 0f Marathon, and the day of Waterloo. Napoleon admitted that the Austrians fought grandly 0n the field of Rivoli, and said, " They failed because they do not under-stand the value of minutes." Humboldt refers the discovery of America to " a wonderful concatenation of trivial circumstances," including a flight of parrots.

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