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If we take the establishment of liberty for the realisation of moral duties to be the end of civil society, we must conclude that those states are substantially the most perfect which, like the British and Austrian Empires, include various distinct nations without oppressing them. Those in which no mixture of races has occurred are imperfect; and those in which its effects have disappeared are decrepit....”
When Acton wrote this, the capacity of states to tolerate minorities within their boundaries was greater than it is now, and the demand that the State be coterminous with the nation was not so insistent. The change has been to a lower level of civilisation, but so have many other changes over roughly the same period.