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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/646

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

shows itself that separation of the superior few from the inferior many, which becomes marked in later stages; though this, too, is a fact which may be singled out and emphasized. Nor is attention to be mainly directed to the early appearance of a controlling head, having power greater than that of any other; though the evidence given may be cited to prove this. But here we have to note, particularly, the truth that at the very outset may be discerned the vague outlines of a triune political structure.

 

Of course, the ratios among the powers of these three components are in no two cases quite the same; and, as implied in sundry of the above examples, they everywhere undergo more or less change—change determined here by the emotional natures of the men composing the group, there by the physical circumstances as favoring or hindering independence, now by the activities as warlike or peaceful, and now by the exceptional characters of particular individuals.

Unusual sagacity, skill, or strength, habitually regarded by primitive men as supernatural, may give to some member of the tribe an influence which, transmitted to a successor supposed to inherit his supernatural character, may generate a chiefly authority subordinating both that of the other leading men and that of the mass. Or a division of labor, such that while some of the tribe remain exclusively warriors the rest are in a measure otherwise occupied, may give to the two superior components of the political agency an ability to override the third. Or the members of the third, keeping up habits which make coercion of them difficult or impossible, may maintain a general predominance over the other two. And then the relations of these three governing elements to the entire community may, and ordinarily do, undergo change by the formation of a passive class, excluded from their deliberations—a class at first composed of the women and afterward containing also the slaves or other dependents.

War, successfully carried on, not only establishes the passive or non-political class, but also, implying as it does subordination, changes more or less decidedly the relative powers of these three parts of the political agency. As, other things equal, groups in which there is little or no subordination are subjugated by groups in which subordination is greater, there is a tendency to the survival and spread of groups in which the controlling power of the dominant few becomes relatively great. In like manner, since success in war largely depends on that promptitude and consistency of action which singleness of will gives, there must, where warfare is chronic, be a tendency for members of the ruling group to become more and more obedient to its head: disappearance in the struggle for existence, among tribes otherwise equal, being ordinarily a consequence of inadequate obedience. And then it is also to be noted that the overrunnings of societies one by another, repeated and re-repeated as they often are, have the effect