The defeat of Napoleon was followed by a long period of peace among the Great Powers-a peace moreover that was only in part one of exhaustion. It opened with the attempt of the Great Powers of Europe to make a constructive agreement for peace, the greatest attempt ever made in the history of Europe to this date, an attempt of such importance that it may properly be regarded as beginning a new era of European relationships. The breakdown of this international experiment must not blind us to the magnitude of its results. There was no great war in Europe for a century and no major war until 1853; the territorial settlement remained the political basis of Europe for thirty years; the system of government by congress, destroyed before the end of the first decade, left as a tradition behind it the practice of international conferences, inherited by the twentieth century from the nineteenth.