United States of Europe

Victor Hugo

A day will come when you France, you Russia, you Italy, you England, you Germany, you all, nations of the continent, without losing your distinct qualities and your glorious individuality, will be merged closely within a superior unit and you will form the European brotherhood, just as Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy, Lorraine, Alsace, all our provinces are merged together in France. A day will come when the only fields of battle will be markets opening up to trade and minds opening up to ideas. A day will come when the bullets and the bombs will be replaced by votes, by the universal suffrage of the peoples, by the venerable arbitration of a great sovereign senate which will be to Europe what this parliament is to England, what this diet is to Germany, what this legislative assembly is to France. A day will come when we will display cannon in museums just as we display instruments of torture today, and are amazed that such things could ever have been possible. A day will come when we shall see those two immense groups, the United States of America and the United States of Europe, stretching out their hands across the sea, exchanging their products, their arts, their works of genius, clearing up the globe, making deserts fruitful, ameliorating creation under the eyes of the Creator, and joining together to reap the well-being of all.

Nor is it necessary that four hundred years shall pass away for that day to come. We live in a rapid period, in the most impetuous current of events and ideas which has over borne away humanity; and at the period in which we live, a year suffices to do the work of a century. But, French, English, Germans, Russians, Slaves, Europeans, Americans, what we have to do in order to hasten the advent of that great day? We must love each other! To love each other is, in this immense labour of pacification, the best manner of aiding God! God desires this sublime object should be accomplished. And to arrive at it you are yourselves witnesses of what the Deity is doing on all sides. See what discoveries are every day issuing from human genius – discoveries which all tend to the same object – Peace! What immense progress! What simplification! How nature is allowing herself to be more and more subjugated by man! How matter every day becomes still more the handmaid of intellect, and the auxiliary of civilization! How the causes of war vanish with the causes of suffering! How people separated from each other so lately, now almost touch! How distances become less and less; and this rapid approach, what is it but the commencement of fraternity? Thanks to roads, Europe will soon be larger than France was in the middle ages. Thanks to steam-ships, we now traverse the mighty ocean more easily than the Mediterranean was formerly crossed. Before long, men will traverse the earth, as the gods of Homer did the sky, in three paces! But yet a little time, and the electric wire of concord shall encircle the globe and unite the world.

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