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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/459

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POLITICAL DIFFERENTIATION.

early Egyptian times is inferable from traditions and remains which tell us both of local struggles which ended in consolidation and of conquests by invading races; whence would naturally result the numerous divisions and subdivisions which Egyptian society presented: an inference justified by the fact that under Roman dominion there was a recomplication caused by superposing of Roman governing agencies upon native governing agencies. Passing over other ancient instances, and coming to the familiar case of our own country, we may note how, from the followers of the conquering Norman, there arose the two ranks of the greater and lesser barons, holding their land directly from the king, while the old English thanes were reduced to the rank of sub-feudatories. Of course, where perpetual wars produce, first, small aggregations, and then larger ones, and then dissolutions, and then reaggregations, and then unions of them, various in their extents, as happened in mediæval Europe, there result very numerous divisions. In the Merovingian kingdoms there were slaves having seven different origins; there were serfs of more than one grade; there were freedmen—men who, though emancipated, did not rank with the fully free; and there were two other classes less than free—the liten and the coloni. Of the free there were three classes—independent land-owners; freemen in relations of dependence with other freemen, of whom there were two kinds; and freemen in special relations with the king, of whom there were three kinds.

And here, while observing in these various cases how greater political differentiation is made possible by greater political integration, we may also observe that in early stages, while social cohesion is small, greater political integration is made possible by greater political differentiation. For the larger the mass to be held together, while incoherent, the more numerous must be the agents standing in successive degrees of subordination to hold it together.

 

The political differentiations which militancy originates, and which for a long time acquire increasing definiteness, so that intermixture of ranks by marriage is made a crime, are at later stages and under other conditions interfered with, traversed, and partially or wholly destroyed.

Where, throughout long periods and in ever-varying degrees, war has been producing aggregations and dissolutions, the continual breaking up and reforming of social bonds obscures the original divisions established in the ways described: instance the state of things in the Merovingian kingdoms just named. And where, instead of conquests by kindred adjacent societies, which in large measure leave standing the social positions and properties of the subjugated, there are conquests by alien races carried on more barbarously, the original grades may be practically obliterated, and in place of them there may arise grades originating entirely by appointment of the despotic conqueror. In parts of the East, where such overrunnings of race by race have