The Great War was a progressive revelation and disillusionment.
In revolt against this new and very evil thing came the republicanism of the eighteenth century, inspired and directed in large measure by members of the fast perishing aristocracy of race, character and tradition.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century the industrial-financial revolution began.
The pursuit of perfection always implies a definite aristocracy, which is as much a goal of effort as a noble philosophy, an august civil polity or a great art.
As the power of Christianity declined through the centuries that have followed the Reformation, Calvinism played a less and less important part, while the new philosophies of mechanism and rationalism correspondingly increased.
With the opening of the second decade of the twentieth century it seemed that the stage was set for the last act in an unquestioned evolutionary drama.