Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/310

This page has been validated.

largely if not chiefly ascribable to it. Our own Indian Empire, too, held together by force in a state of artificial equilibrium, threatens some day to illustrate, by its fall, the incohesion arising from lack of congruity in its components.


One of the laws of evolution at large is, that integration results when like units are subject to the same force or to like forces ("First Principles," § 169); and, from the first stages of political integration up to the last, we find this law illustrated. Joint exposure to uniform external actions and joint reactions against them have from the beginning been the leading causes of union among members of societies.

Already there has been indirectly implied the truth that coherence is first given to small hordes of primitive men during combined opposition to enemies. Subject to the same danger, and uniting to meet this danger, they become, in the course of their coöperation against it, more bound together. In the first stages, this relation of cause and effect is clearly seen in the fact that such union as arises during a war disappears when the war is over: there is dispersion and loss of all such slight political subordination as was beginning to show itself. But it is by the integration of simple groups into compound groups, in the course of common resistance to foes and attacks upon them, that this process is best exemplified. The cases before given may be reënforced by others. Of the Karens, Mason says: "Each village, being an independent community, had always an old feud to settle with nearly every other village among their own people. But the common danger from more powerful enemies, or having common injuries to requite, often led to several villages uniting together for defense or attack." According to Kolben, "smaller nations of Hottentots, which may be near some powerful nation, frequently enter into an alliance, offensive and defensive, against the stronger nation." Among the New Caledonians, in Tanna, "six, or eight, or more of their villages unite, and form what may be called a district, or county, and all league together for mutual protection. . . . In war, two or more of these districts unite." In Samoa, "villages, in numbers of eight or ten, unite by common consent, and form a district or state for mutual protection"; and, in time of war, these districts themselves sometimes unite in twos and threes. The like has happened with historic peoples. It was during the wars of the Israelites, in David's time, that they passed from the state of separate tribes into the state of a consolidated ruling nation. The scattered Greek communities, previously aggregated into minor confederacies by minor wars, were prompted to the Panhellenic congress and to the subsequent coöperation, when the invasion of Xerxes was impending; and, of the Spartan and Athenian confederacies afterward formed, that of Athens acquired the hegemony, and finally the empire, during continued operations