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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/741

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

APRIL, 1881.


 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS.
By HERBERT SPENCER.
VI.—POLITICAL HEADS—CHIEFS, KINGS, ETC.

OF the three components of the triune political structure traceable at the outset, we have now to follow the development of the first. Already in the last two chapters something has been said, and more has been implied, respecting that most important differentiation which results in the establishment of a headship. What was there indicated under its general aspects has here to be elaborated under its special aspects.

"When Rink asked the Nicobarians who among them was the chief, they replied, laughing, how could he believe that one could have power against so many?" I quote this as a reminder that there is at first resistance to the assumption of supremacy by one member of a group—a resistance which, though in some types of men small, is in most considerable, and in a few very great. To instances already given of tribes practically chief-less, may be added, from America, the Haidahs, among whom "the people seemed all equal"; the Californian tribes, among whom "each individual does as he likes"; the Navajos, among whom "each is sovereign in his own right as a warrior"; and from Asia the Angamies, who "have no recognized head or chief, although they elect a spokesman, who, to all intents and purposes, is powerless and irresponsible."

Such small subordination as rude groups show occurs only when the need for joint action is imperative, and control is required to make it efficient. Instead of recalling before-named examples of temporary chieftainship, I may here give a few others. Of the Lower Californians we read, "In hunting and war they have one or more chiefs to lead them, who are selected only for the occasion." Of the Flatheads'