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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/462

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

they do in every act of exchange, whether of goods for money or of services for pay, there is produced a mental attitude at variance with that which accompanies subjection; and, as fast as this happens, such political distinctions as imply subjection lose more and more of that respect which gives them strength.

 

Class-distinctions, then, date back to the beginnings of social life. Omitting those small wandering assemblages which are so incoherent that their component parts are ever changing their relations to one another and to the environment we see that, wherever there is some coherence and some permanence of relation among the parts, there begin to arise political divisions. Relative superiority of power, first causing a differentiation at once domestic and social, between the activities and positions of the sexes, presently begins to cause a differentiation among males, shown in the bondage of captives; a master-class and a slave-class are formed.

Where men continue the wandering life in pursuit of wild food for themselves or their cattle, the groups they form are debarred from doing more by war than appropriate one another's units individually; but, where men have passed into the agricultural or settled state, it becomes possible for one community to take possession bodily of another community, along with the territory it occupies. When this happens, there arise additional class-divisions. The conquered and tribute-paying community, besides having its head-men reduced to subjection, has its people reduced to a state such that, while they continue to live on their lands, they yield up, through the intermediation of their chiefs, part of the produce to the conquerors; so foreshadowing what eventually becomes a serf-class.

From the beginning the militant class, being by force of arms the dominant class, becomes the class which owns the source of food—the land. During the hunting and pastoral stages, the warriors of the group hold the land collectively. On passing into the settled state, their tenures become partly collective and partly individual in sundry ways, and eventually almost wholly individual. But, throughout long stages of social evolution, land-owning and militancy continue to be associated.

The class-differentiation, of which militancy is the active cause, is furthered by the establishment of definite descent, and especially male descent, and the transmission of position and property to the eldest son of the eldest continually. This conduces to inequalities of position and wealth between near kindred and remote kindred; and such inequalities of wealth, once initiated, strengthen themselves by giving to the superior increased means of maintaining their power by accumulating appliances for offense and defense.

Such differentiation is increased, at the same time that a new differentiation is initiated, by the immigration of fugitives who attach