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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/213

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COMPOUND POLITICAL HEADS.

see how there came to coexist, in the same societies, some institutions of a despotic kind, with other institutions of a kind appearing to be based on the principle of equality, and often confounded with free institutions. Let us recall the antecedents of those early European peoples who developed governments of this form.

During the wandering pastoral life, subordination to a single head, growing naturally out of fatherhood, was fostered. A recalcitrant member of any group had either to submit to the authority under which he had grown up, or, throwing off its yoke, had to leave the group and face those risks which unprotected life in the desert threatened. The establishment of this subordination was furthered by the more frequent survival of groups in which it was greatest; since, in the conflicts between groups, those of which the members were insubordinate, ordinarily being both smaller and less able to coöperate effectually, were the more likely to disappear. But now, to the fact that in such families and clans circumstances fostered obedience to the father and to the patriarch, has to be added the fact above emphasized, that circumstances also fostered the sentiment of liberty in the relations between clans. The exercise of power by one of them over another was made difficult by wide scattering and by great mobility; and with successful opposition to external coercion, or evasion of it, carried on through numberless generations, the tendency to resent and resist all strange authority was likely to become strong.

Whether, when groups thus disciplined aggregate, they assume this or that form of political organization, depends partly, as already implied, on the conditions into which they fall. Even could we omit those differences between Mongols, Semites, and Aryans, established in prehistoric times by causes unknown to us—even had complete likeness of nature been produced in them by long continuance of pastoral life—yet large societies, formed by combinations of these small ones, could be similar in type only under similar circumstances. Hence, probably, the reason why Mongols and Semites, where they have settled and multiplied, have failed to maintain the autonomies of their hordes after combination of them, and to evolve the resulting institutions. Even the Aryans, among whom chiefly the less concentrated forms of political rule have arisen, yield an illustration. Originally inheriting in common the mental traits generated during their life in the Hindoo-Koosh and its neighborhood, the different divisions of the race have developed different institutions and accompanying characters. Those of them who spread into the plains of India, where great fertility made possible a large population, to the control of which there were small physical impediments, lost their independence of nature, and did not evolve political systems like those which grew up among their Western kindred, under conditions favorable for maintaining the original character.

The implication is, then, that where groups of the patriarchal type