BRITAIN WAS DIRECTLY ROMAN for fully four hundred years; longer than she has been Protestant, and very much longer than she has been industrial ... Britons were not originally proud of being Britons; but they were proud of being Romans ... Rome itself obviously could not rule the world, any more than Rutland. I mean it could not rule the other races as the Spartans ruled the Helots ... A machine so huge had to be human; it had to have a handle that fitted any man's hand. The Roman Empire necessarily became less Roman as it became more of an Empire; until not very long after Rome gave conquerors to Britain, Britain was giving emperors to Rome. Out of Britain, as the Britons boasted, came at length the great Empress Helena, who was the mother of Constantine. And it was Constantine, as all men know, who first nailed up that proclamation which all after generations have in truth been struggling either to protect or to tear down.
- G. K. Chesterton, A Short History of England