A Hellenic state was envisaged by none save empty dreamers, a federation of Hellenic city-states only by a few bold statesmen, who foresaw that the internecine rivalries of the politicians must ultimately exhaust the energy of their peoples. For the ordinary Greek citizen the city-state seemed to be as obvious a unit of political life, and as essential to security and freedom, as the nation-state appears to the ordinary European. Equally foreign was the modern notion of colonization and empire. The imperial control of foreign peoples, whether for their exploitation or for their well-being, did not appeal to a merchant people content to trade and live on equal terms with all. The Greek did not feel the weight of 'the white man's burden', or at least did not feel that Greek culture could be imposed by the political and military control of vast continents. Alexander, the imperial missionary of Hellenism, was a Macedonian, not a Greek.