Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/599

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REPRESENTATIVE BODIES.

and blood. Wealth, which, through long ages, distinguishes the nobleman exclusively, gives him both actual power and the power arising from display. Fixed literally or practically, as the several grades of his inferiors are during days when locomotion is difficult, he long remains for them the solitary sample of a great man: others are known only by hearsay; he is known by experience. Inspection is easily maintained by him over dependent and sub-dependent people; and the disrespectful or rebellious, if they can not be punished overtly, can be deprived of occupation, or otherwise so hindered in their lives that they must submit or migrate. Down to our own day, the behavior of peasants and farmers to the squire is suggestive of the strong restraints which kept rural populations in semi-servile states after primitive controlling influences had died away.

Converse effects may be expected under converse conditions, namely, where large numbers become closely aggregated. Even if such large numbers are formed of groups severally subordinate to heads of clans, or to feudal superiors, sundry influences combine to diminish subordination. When there are present in the same place many superiors to whom respectively their dependents owe obedience, these superiors tend to dwarf one another. The power of no one is so imposing if there are daily seen others who make like displays. Further, when groups of dependents are mingled, supervision can not be so well maintained by their heads. And this, which hinders the exercise of control, facilitates combination among those to be controlled; conspiracy is made easier and detection of it more difficult. Again, jealous of one another, as these heads of clustered groups are likely in such circumstances to be, they are prompted severally to strengthen themselves, and to this end, competing for popularity, are tempted to relax the restraints over their inferiors and to give protection to inferiors ill-used by other heads. Still more are their powers undermined when the assemblage comes to include many aliens. As before implied, this, above all causes, favors the growth of popular power. In proportion as immigrants, detached from the gentile or feudal divisions they severally belong to, become numerous, they weaken the structures of the divisions among which they live. Such organization as these strangers fall into is certain to be a looser one; and their influence becomes a dissolving agency to the surrounding organizations.

And here we are brought back to the truth which can not be too much insisted upon, that growth of popular power is in all ways associated with trading activities. For only by trading activities can many people be brought to live in close contact. Physical necessities maintain the wide dispersion of a rural population; while physical necessities impel the gathering together of those who are commercially occupied. Evidence from various countries and times shows that periodic gatherings for religious rites, or other public purposes, furnish opportunities for buying and selling, which are habitually utilized;