Historical development of the evolution of the state : The preceding article in tracing the origin of the state, found difficulty in fixing he exact process by which the state came into existence and in separating political institution from other closely related forms similar problems confront an attempt to outline the historical development of political institution. The state has not had a single origin or a regular and continuous evolution. The idea held by many writers that political development tends inevitably to pass through regular and clearly defined cycles is not borne out by historical facts.
Various forms of state have arisen at different times and places as a result of causes by no means uniform. These states have had widely different histories, and have worked out governmental organizations far from similar. Thus, at first glance, it seems almost as difficult to follow the state’s evolution as it was to determine its origin. However, if attention is directed chiefly to those states that occupied the leading positions [in the world of their day and that, contributed most to the development of later political forms and ideas, a fairly uniform course of development may be discovered.
In broad outlines, the state has evolved through the following forms :
- The tribal state
- The Oriental empire
- The Greek city state
- The Roman world empire
- The feudal state
- The national state
The periods of time during which each of these forms predominated show wide variation, and within the general type important governmental changes took place. Besides, earlier forms usually survived in some parts of the earth long after later types had arisen elsewhere. There have also been tendencies at times to revive earlier forms among peoples who had passed to the new and types strikingly similar have arisen independently at different times in widely separated places.
The Tribal State:
As the previous chapter indicated the first states appeared in the form of tribes. These had certain elements in common, though in other respects they showed marked differences. They were usually comparatively small in sing and were governed by chiefs, often assisted by advisory councils. Some Were nomadic others were permanently settled in definite areas. While the main purpose of their existence was the preservation of internal order and the waging of aggressive of defensive war, they often retained strong traces of common birth, common religion, and common economic interests.
The scope of their political power was narrow, most of the affairs of like being controlled by long established customs. In some the authority of the chief was despotic in others his power Wan strictly limited by a democratic public opinion, or by assemblies of warriors in some authority was transmitted by heredity or by some accepted rule of succession in Others the rulers were chosen freely by members of the tribe. Sometimes the tribal organization was permanent in other cases it was temporary, the group easily falling apart into smaller units. In still other cases a number of tribes might be combined into a loose confederation.
The tribal form of organization has existed in some parts of the earth through the entire period of recorded history. The aborigines of Australia never progressed beyond that stage, and but little advance had been made in the Western Hemisphere before its contact with Europe. Even today, in underdeveloped parts of the earth and among backward peoples, the type persists.
The Oriental Empire:
The next step in state building resulted from the aggregation of population, the accumulation of wealth, and improvement in the arts of peace and war in regions favored by nature. Warm climate, fertile soil, abundance of water, and a considerable area free from geographic barriers were required to support a large population and to bring about those permanent relations among men that demanded increasing government.
In the fertile valleys of the Nile, the Euphrates, the Ganges, the Yellow River, and the Yangtze, which are called the “cradles of civilization,” wealth accumulated and cities arose. Such areas, furnishing abundant food with little effort, attracted surrounding peoples and led to that conflict and intermingling which was so important in creating the state, as contrasted with the earlier kinship organizations.
Through loose alliances, or through the conquest of the weaker by the stronger and more aggressive city, the inhabitants of these valleys were bound together into the empires of Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, India, and China. These empires were not strongly centralized, but were made up of subordinate units, practically autonomous in local affairs, yet under central supervision, obliged to furnish soldiers and to pay tribute.
Warm climate and easily obtained food made possible the beginnings of civilization, but soon checked energy and caused stagnation. Abundant population and frequent conquests created a large servile class with resultant social differences castes and despotism. Religion crystallized into temple worship, over shadowing the ancient rites of the household, and a lose corporation of priests developed into an exclusive and highly organized instrument of social control.
The need for serial protection, especially in connection with increasing property and with frequent wars, and the ambition for power on the part of the ruling classes, led to a hierarchy of officials, culminating in a king or emperor, surrounded by a court of growing complexity, and with a code of manners and a mode of life that set it apart from the rest of the people. Rulers were exalted with corresponding abasement of subjects, since free political cooperation over a large area was impossible because of the difficulty of communication.
A permanent armed force replaced the spontaneous mustering of the tribe, and the military order became a strong conservative force translating the idea of service into the fulfillment of a command. With the political, priestly, and military classes reinforcing each other in stabilizing society through authority and subordination, the way was prepared for leaders who imposed the principle of dominance over their own subjects and who were ambitious to extend it by conquest over others.
The creation of empire brought new political problems. To unify authority over a large area was difficult in an age of slow communications. The provincial magistrates, possessing a large measure of autonomy, were frequently tempted to revolt against: the central authority. Powerful nobles in the court stood jealously ready to defy the emperor, especially when hereditary succession placed the scepter in weak hands.
Thus the early empires present a picture of instability at best they were a loose aggregation OE semi independent states, with authority shifting from dynasty to dynasty and from city to city. Some fell from external invasion others were destroyed by internal dissensions.
The problem of government is largely one of proper adjustment between authority and freedom, and of extending this Adjustment in a permanent and stable union aver a considerable tea. The Oriental empire accomplished neither. Based on conquest, they had no teal cohesion and fell apart whenever the ruling dynasty Was weakened based on fear, they represented bellied the people only the slave driver and the tax-collector. Neither unity in the state not liberty for the individual was possible under such conditions.
While these great empires per formed valuable service in establishing the beginnings of culture, in breaking down the narrow local basis of tribal organization, and in breaking mankind with widespread authority, they offered little hope of individual or political progress. Despotic power, unchecked by popular will, viewed the state as property, and the people merely as subjects. This defective basis of political authority the Oriental empire could never remove, and the course of political development was transferred to new peoples and a new form of state.
The Greek City State:
The Oriental empires were essentially agricultural, land powers. To them the sea was a barrier, not a highway and the centers of their civilization lay, not on the coasts, but in the valleys. As civilization spread to the region around the Aegean and Mediterranean, important physical differences were found. Europe is a peninsula, oceanic rather than continental. It has a climate more temperate and products more varied than the river valleys of Asia.
The land is broken up into small units adapted to both intercourse and defense while the seas, though permitting communication, made invasion from Asia difficult. Hence civilization, though arising later reached a much higher and more varied development than in Asia, and the nature of political organization was correspondingly different.
On the coasts of the Aegean Sea and on the islands stretching across it appeared the first maritime states, a new and epoch making form of political power. In this area diverse types of peoples intermingled and fused. Products and ideas were exchanged and the minds of men were liberated from the tyranny of fixed customs. While pastoral nomads had mobility without wealth, and agricultural peoples had wealth without mobility the seafaring peoples possessed both advantages.
In contrast to the expansion of land empires by conquest, requiring constantly increasing armies and making the problem of government ever more difficult, sea powers expanded by colonization, linking strategic centers together by the common advantages of economic ties.
Although advanced civilizations appeared early in Crete, Troy, Mycenae, Troy, and other maritime centers, it was in Greece, between the fifth and fourth centuries b.c, that this form of culture reached its highest development and made its chief contribution to political development. Greece has been called the “most European of European lands.” In a little district of ten thousand square miles are found, in miniature, all the characteristic features of Europe. The mountains and the sea break up this area into numerous valleys and islands, easily defended, yet, because of the sea, not isolated.
In contrast to the uniformity of Asia, the variety and moderation of nature in Greece developed a different mental attitude and genius. Growth of population led naturally to trade, commerce, and colonization the wine and olive oil which her hillsides furnished being an excellent medium of trade. Under these conditions a new form of state was created. Patriarchal tribes, coming into this area as invaders from the north, built their villages on easily defended hills.
In the secluded valleys, guarded by mountains and the sea, yet in constant contact through their harbors, with the outside world, groups of villages united under a single polity and gave a new emphasis and a distinctive form to city life. Natural barriers made the union of these cities difficult hence each city developed an intense life of its own. Before its claims all other human relationships took second place, and earlier ties of kinship were replaced by a patriotic sense of citizenship.
Many influences combined in the Greek cities to prevent the despotism that fettered the earlier empires. Religion bore less heavily on the Greeks and no priestly class existed to reinforce authority. The small size of the city destroyed the mystery of authority remote and secluded. The active, changing life of the city sharpened men’s wits, made them more critical and competitive and less likely to endure oppression without question.
The more complex order of city life demanded more regulation, brought government closer home to each citizen, and led him to examine and question his laws and his government. The city Is the natural home organized democracy, in contrast to the formless equality of tribal life and the despotic rule of empire.
The internal development of these city states followed, in general, the same political evolution, though the form of government that finally resulted differed in the various cities. Tribal chiefs became the kings of the Homeric period. their powers diminished and passed into the hands OI oligarchs, aristocratic nobles who controlled the councils and magistrates of the city. The selfishness and oppressiveness of the oligarchs led to a contest with the common citizens, as a result of which a more or less democratic constitution was set up.
In this process a dictator, or “tyrant,” frequently arose who suppressed the nobles by the aid of mercenary armies and popular support, but who was removed by the people when they realized their strength. While a large Part of the population of the city was composed of slaves and other unfranchised residents, within the citizen class political and civil rights were widespread. Each citizen was expected to take active part in holding public office and in deciding public questions.
Thus each city developed an intense, patriotic life, absorbing the energies of its citizens, and identifying their life with that of the city. Factions within the city, however, foreshadowing the political parties which seem an inevitable accompaniment of democracy, created internal dissension, and weakened the cities within. Besides, this democracy adapted to the city state, was effective only in small areas. Its perfection intensified jealousy among the cities and prevented the formation of a national Greek state.
Neighboring cities were viewed as enemies, although leagues, under the headship of a dominant city, were sometimes formed. Lack of unity was the chief weakness of the Creek political system. Facing east, Greece came into contact with the powerful Oriental empires, and was compelled to wage defensive war. This checked expansion and compelled a concentrated internal development.
Mutual jealousy prevented my union except loose confederations, and frequent wars among the cities destroyed in turn, the power of the strongest, Greece thus weakened, was at length united only when conquered by an outside power, first Macedon, then Rome
In one respect the city state made an important contribution to political thought. Organized self government and individual freedom had been developed and on this basis a brilliant, if brief, civilization had arisen. Only in small states, however, was this form of political life possible. The remainder of the world was not yet ready for democracy, much in the way of perfecting a wider organization first being needed. This was secured by Macedon and Rome at the expense of democracy, and the work necessary for modern civilization destroyed much of the Greek contribution to politics. It was not until the Teutonic barbarians later grafted their individual freedom with Roman organization, and devcloped the system of representation and local self government, that a democracy stable over large areas became possible.
The Roman World Empire:
The conquests of Alexander the Great about the middle of the fourth century B.C. destroyed the independence of the Greek cities, extended the control of Macedon over a large part of the Eastern empires, and restored for a time the Oriental-empire type of despotism. His empire, however, was short lived, and fell to pieces after his death. The main line of political development passed westward to Rome.
The beginnings of political life in Italy were similar to those in Greece. Natural advantages of location, climate, and resources led to increase of population, mingling of peoples and advance in civilization. While the mass of inhabitants lived in loose tribal organizations, a number of small city states gradually arose. These were not commercial, as in Greece,but were the centers of the surrounding agricultural area. One of these at first by no means the most important, was formed by the union of several tribes occupying a group of hills in the fertile plain of the Tiber.
A number of causes led to the preeminence of this city. Its central position and its location at the head of navigation of the only important river gave it considerable advantage. Besides, the various settlements on neighboring hills soon compelled isolation to yield to federation or conquest, and numerous hostile neighbors kept warlike ability. These conditions resulted in fusion of peoples. Thus in Rome the rigid letters of custom were broken earlier than usual, and necessary compromise amt treaty, resulting from the relation of various tribes, began the growth of Rome’s wonderful system of law thus the walk of conquest began that was finally to create the Empire.
In its early internal development Rome showed the same tendencies as the Greek city states. King, council and assemblies grew out of the patriarchal family organization monarchy Was replaced by an aristocracy of birth and wealth, as consuls praetors and senate replaced the king and a strong movement toward democracy was indicated by the widening of the assemblies and the increased privileges of the plebeians.
The ruling classes of Rome perceived what the Greek cities never learned, that a city state cannot resist its enemies without if torn by dissension from within. By extending citizenship within the city they secured stability and union. But before this tendency toward a democratic, compact city state could be carried to its logical conclusion, as it had been in Athens, a new series of event changed the whole course of Roman development, resulting, in a new type of state and in several important contributions to political ideas.
Geographic conditions in the main account for the difference in the trend of Greek and Roman politics. Italy is better adapted for internal unity than Greece. The divisions are larger and less distinct, the plains and uplands better suited to agriculture, and the absence of harbors and islands offers fewer ,advantage for commerce.
Hence, while civilization was delayed, energy was kept at home until Italy was united into a single date under Rome’s headship. Here again, as the armies of Rome triumphed, her former enemies were incorporated into the state ,and made citizens, and the territory of Italy was consolidated the process, however, did not stop at this point.
The direction of external effort further affected Rome’s progress. With the Apennines near the eastern coast, and the fertile plains, rivers mid harbors on the west, Rome naturally had little contact with eastern peoples until her institutions were well established on the contrary, she faced toward Gaul and Spain, and through Sicily, toward Africa. Her first wars were with inferior nations and led to conquest, to expansion of territory, and to the civilizing of fresh, vigorous peoples.
Adding sea power to land power, she emerged victorious from a life-and-death struggle with Carthage by the end of the third century b.c, Later, the fragments of Alexander’s empire in the East came also under hot sway, her central position enabling her to concentrate her forces and conquer her enemies in detail. Rome thus entered on the final stage of empire, extending her control over world over dominions, within which power and citizenship could no longer advance successfully together.
It was this career of conquest and expansion that compelled Rome to develop a new form of state. The city state constitution broke down When it was applied to a wide empire, and that tendency toward democracy was checked by the need for a vigorous and consistent policy in dealing with various peoples in all parts of the earth. Only at Rome could the citizens share in government and real power fell into the hands of the wealthy aristocrats, who controlled the votes of the Roman mob and of the army, which alone could control the provinces.
The attempts of various leaders to use one of both of these sources of power resulted in the series of civil wars that marked the end of the republic. Bureaucratic and despotic empire was the inevitable outcome of such conditions. A religious sanction was added to the new authority, and worship of the Emperor became a patriotic duty. Concentration of authority, uniformity of law, centralized organization-these were needed to bind the wide domain of Rome in to a state and to secure order and peace throughout her reach.
How well Rome succeeded in creating a successful imperial organization is shown by the fact that her rule lasted for five centuries in the West and for Eileen centuries in the East. The Christian church developed its organization on a Roman basis the ideal of world empire long outlived the destruction of actual unity and Roman law and Roman methods at colonial and municipal administration underlie modem systems.
Sovereignty and citizenship were worked out by Rome, and her methods of binding divergent nations into political unity have never been surpassed. The maintenance of peace for centuries within the civilized world was a gloat boon to mankind. Rome taught the world that a large state might be stable and successfully governed and her ideal of world unity underlay the later development of international law and later attempts at world organization.
The formation of this united and well governed empire was not accomplished, however, without accompanying evils. From the time of Caesar onward, citizenship was extended, but it no longer carried with it any Share in government. To secure unity and authority, individual freedom and democracy were sacrificed local self government disappeared as centralized administration grew. Greece had developed democracy without unity Rome secured unity without democracy.
Rome’s system prevented political education, and its very perfection brought about its ultimate fall. The ability to combine sovereignty and liberty, to make democracy possible over large areas, and to secure the best interests of both individual and state was reserved for a later time and a new people. Rome contributed but one side of political development, sovereign organization, wide unity, uniform law, and world peace, the side most needed at that period of state formation.
The Feudal State:
The unity which the principle of citizenship gave to early Rome became meaningless with the expansion of Rome to world empire. Imperial Rome depended increasingly on the army and the doctrine of power, and this gave no satisfactory basis for solidarity. When the state failed, men sought refuge in kingdoms not of this world and in individualistic philosophies.
The state was thereby disintegrated, and this internal decline made it difficult for Rome to maintain her frontiers against those Teutonic barbarians whom she had been unable to conquer. Great numbers of these were gradually admitted and many found service in the army. By the fifth century of the Christian Era the boundaries were so indistinct, the army so largely barbarian, and the pressure along the frontiers so great that the declining empire in the west fell to pieces and was parceled out among the various Teutonic tribes in the east the Byzantine Empire maintained for many years the framework of authority and the rise of the Mohammedan religion created again a great state of the Oriental empire type but in western Europe the state disappeared and had gradually to be rebuilt in a primitive society.
The work of the Middle Ages was the gradual fusion of Roman and Teutonic population and institution the former predominating in the south of Europe, the latter in the north. This process was marked at first by considerable destination. In the Dark Ages, Roman civilization and Roman political ideas seemed almost lost. Society crystallized around the church, which set up its dominion in the name of Rome, and mound the fragmentary territorial units ruled by warrior or noble. With the Renaissance came the gradual emergence of many of the old ideas and institutions, modified, of course, by ideas and institutions of the Teutons. The result of this process was modem civilization and the modern state, and during this process such political life as existed was largely of the peculiar transitional form commonly known as “feudal.”
To an understanding of the feudal state some knowledge of political methods among the Teutons is necessary. Before entering the Roman Empire their organization was of the tribal form. Largely because of physical conditions and undeveloped economic life, the Teutons had continued their rural organization and had not created the city state. Their system emphasized the importance of the individual as opposed to the sovereignty of the state. Such authority as existed was based largely on personal loyalty.
Leaders were chosen by the people, and ability in the activities that a vigorous, warlike people love was the basis of choice. Popular assemblies in the various units were held, and all freemen had a voice in affairs. Teutonic ideas of law and justice, while crude and unsystematic, contained possibilities of growth and added an important element to the Roman law, which had been codified and was in danger of stagnation.
These elements, emphasizing individualism liberty, and local self-government, were directly opposed to the Roman ideals of authority and centralization and the immediate result of their fusion was the apparent destruction of all organized political life. The absence of central authority, and the need for some form of protection and order, placed political power in the hands of every man that was strong enough to wield it.
Destruction of Roman commerce and an undeveloped economic system made land the thief form of wealth and as land was parceled out among the conquerors, governing authority went with it. Thus were brought together the holding of land, the exercise of political power, and the Teutonic personal relation of vassal and lord. The increasing wealth of the leaders, the influence of Roman ideas, and the confusion of the times strengthened the nobility, while the popular assemblies decreased in importance and, in many parts of Europe, disappeared.
Thus Europe was split up into a large number of political fragments, some of Which were held together by more or less definite ties to a common superior, to whom they owed allegiance and military service but in practice each fragment knew no law but its own. Such a condition naturally resulted in disorder and anarchy, in Conflicting law and authorities, in the complete subordination of the mass of the people. Neither unity nor liberty was possible in feudalism, and the political development of centuries seemed wasted.
The only institution that retained its unity during the Middle Ages was Christian church. Growing up on the ruins of the Roman Empire, it adopted imperial organization, and its power was further strengthened by the superstitious reverence in which it was held by the converted barbarians. The absence at strong government and the power of religious ideas over the minds of men led the church to take upon itself many functions of the state. Preservation of peace and order was largely in its hands, and with its growing wealth in land came corresponding political authority. Even a separate system of law and courts for its clergy was developed, and its monopoly of learning made great church-men the chief official and advisers in government. The head of the church claimed superiority to all princes and the power to release subjects from their oaths of fidelity thus another element was added to the already confused sovereignties and the way was paved for the bitter conflict 13th between church and state.
In spite of actual conditions, the idea of a common superior resulting from the prestige of the Roman Empire, and the idea that it should be eternal, survived and the titles of “king” and emperor remained, even though their holders had little real authority. Naturally the church was the champion of authority, and by its aid efforts were made to restore the political unity of Europe, to set up a Holy Roman Empire.
Charlemagne came nearest to success but his work was temporary, and his successors could not again unite even his domains. Decentralization, doubtful sovereignty, conflicting allegiances and laws, union of church and state, and the association of landholding, political power, and personal loyalty these characterized the politics of the Middle Ages. The world empire of Rome had been destroyed and as yet no new form of state had arisen to replace it.
The revival of commerce, toward the close the Middle Ages restored the trading centers and cities especially in German and Italy, where the central political authority was weakest grew rich and powerful. The mercantile and commercial aristocracy of the cities differed from the landed aristocracy of the country and was hostile to the feudal system. It asserted and achieved independence from the feudal lords and revived for a time the ideals and institutions of free city states. As usual progress toward democracy was made in the free cities but their independent life was short and they were soon brought under the control of the new type of state that marked the beginning of the modern period.
The National State:
Out of the chaos of feudalism a definite form of political life gradually appeared. The spiritual principle and temporal power of the church were not in harmony and movements for reform within the church weakened its unity and attacked its claim to political leadership. As population became stationary and common interests developed. it became increasingly evident that new states would, in general follow geographic and ethnic lines. Bonds of nationality and language strengthened by natural boundaries, grouped the feudal fragments into more and more permanent combinations and France, Spain, England, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Russia and, later, Germany and Italy arose. This separation into distinct states, each with its own national spirit, destroyed the idea of a common superior and made possible the rise of international law and the modern theory of the sovereignty and legal equality of states. Similarly, the growth of a strong government each of these states destroyed the independence of local ruler attacked the influence of the church, and separated religion and political ideas, although more than a century of religious wars, civil and international, was needed before this distinction was realized.
These national states emerged as absolute monarchies. The great enemies of centralized authority were the feudal nobles, and their destruction was necessary before a strong state could exist. The Crusades killed off many of these nobles and impoverished others in England the Wars of the Roses served the same purpose. The growth of industry and commerce and the rise of towns created other forms of wealth in addition to land, making the nobles no longer the only wealthy class and the use of gunpowder destroyed their military supremacy.
As the power of the nobility diminished, their strength passed into the hands of the growing kings. A national in and a national system of taxation replaced the feudal levies. The mass of the people, just rising from serfdom, ignorant and unorganized, were no match for the monarchs when the nobles, who had so long stood between them and the kings, were gone.
In fact, in many cases the people welcomed the strong government of their king‘s, partly because they desired peace and security, and partly because of the growing national spirit that centered in the monarch as representing the state. The revived study of Roman law reinforced the doctrine that law is Will of the king. In this general way arose the absolute monarchy of the Tudors in England, of Charles V in Spain, and of Louis XIV in France.
A national state with centralized government in the hands of an absolute monarch Organization again without freedom was the immediate outgrowth of the decaying feudal system and the series of dynastic wars and alliances that thank the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries indicates both the strength of the monarchs and the rivalry of the separate nations.
As might be expected, the development of national states was not uniform. Local conditions and past historic development In England, where the strong monarchy of the strong conquering Normans had early secured unity, feudalism never flourished and the Teutonic population, retaining many features of their democratic institutions early began the struggle against royal authority.
It was when only the nobles who were allied to the lower classes more closely In England than elsewhere, had been weakened that this gradual democratic development was checked and the absolute monarchy of the Tudors and Stuarts became possible on the other hand, absolute monarchy was the logical outcome of French conditions. Starting with the must complete feudal decentralization the Capetian line gradually extended its territory perfected its administration and secured uniformity of law and a national army and finance. A centralized French french monarchy ambition for centuries.
Germany and Italy, because of their connection in the Holy Roman Empire causing every aspiring German ruler to waste his resources in devastating Italy because of their long struggle with the Papacy, and because they were the battleground of Europe in both religious and territorial wars, were unable to secure national unity and strong government until the nineteenth century.
The next step concerned the conflict of king and people within the national state. With the growth of intelligence and wealth the mass of the people demanded a more political rights and privileges the forces of nationality, which had at first found the symbol of their unity in the king, demanded a fuller and more active expression. The overthrow of the feudal system destroyed the innumerable vertical group of the society and led to a horizontal division into classes or estates that had common aims and interests. Economic changes diminished the importance of the landed aristocracy and treated a new that m industrial workers whose outlook was different from that at the peasant and whose power to influence the state was vastly greater.
In addition, representative government was created. Thus both the motive and the machinery of democracy existed, and absolutism in reality hastened its progress. Power in the hands of the monarch was more apparent and more easily attacked than when possessed by a number of feudal aristocrats and when the divine authority of the ruler was questioned, people began to realise that power lay in their hands if they Wished to wield it. The nineteenth century witnessed the rise democracy, accompanied by more on less disturbance in proportion as the old order was established and refused to yield
Here again the process was not uniform in all states. In England the growth of democracy the completion of a process long begun was in the main, gradual and peaceful. In France the rise of democracy meant a complete break with past tendencies and caused the terrors of the Revolution and the rise a Napoleon. Elsewhere the monarchs learned wisdom by experience and yielded as political consciousness spread among their peoples. Local self government with representation for common affairs and written constitutions, with guaranties of civil liberty and restrictions upon government, were the usual arrangements that resulted.
In many cases the king remained as a historic figurehead but real sovereignty passed to a large proportion of the population and the state rested on a broad basis. Growing democracy demanded a wider suffrage. It aimed at the responsibility of ministers and the preeminence of the legislative branch of government. It demanded the right to elect representatives and to select the candidates for election.
It endeavored to improve the machinery of representation so that elements of public opinion should he represented, and it demanded that, after election representatives should continue to he influenced by the public opinion to which they owed their existence.
The growth of democracy was accompanied by the belief that the sphere of authority should be limited. Civil liberty, as we as political rights, was demanded, and freedom of religion and of opinion was desired. Even in the economic field it was believed that the state should interfere as little as possible Democracy and individualism were at first closely associated with the successful accomplishment of democracy, however the people changed their attitude toward government, and were Willing to in trust it with wider powers.
Authority in their own hands was not feared. On the contrary the government was appealed to for aid and for regulation. The past century was Seen a steady increase in the scope of state Power and socialistic theories that would give the state full control of economic interests have arisen and have been given practical application in modern states.
Thus modern democratic national states represent the most advanced form state evolution with ethnic and geographic unity they have a strong natural basis and by combining local self government and representation they secure that adjustment of liberty and sovereignty which even over large areas, may sub serve the interests of both individual and society.
However, many minor relations within the state are still difficult to adjust, and the relations of state to state are as yet by no means satisfactory. In recent years the theory of constitutional representative democracy has been seriously attacked. At one extreme the demand for the efficient government of strong dictatorship at the other extreme is the demand for economic equality am! the control of the state by the working classes Experiments of both these types are now being tried.
3. Colonial empire:
At the present time two tendencies, both powerful, yet in many respects antagonistic. exist one the one hand is the emphasis placed on ethnic and geographic unity. The national state, with well defined natural frontiers and with a homogeneous and united people, seems to be the goal toward which the development of the past five centuries has tended and states wage war to secure maintain their natural boundaries, and use every means to increase the solidarity of their populations.
The Great war, with its emphasis on the “self determination of nations,” gave a strong impetus to this tendency. A number of well organized, yet distinct and often rival national states is the logical outcome of this movement. On the other hand, many influences interfere with this process. The formation, during the past few centuries, of great colonial empires, composed of widely scattered areas and most divergent peoples has tended to destroy the geographic and ethnic unity On which the national state was based.
The process of colonial expansion began almost as soon as the national states were Cheated, and each state, as soon as it became powerful, demanded its “place in the sun.” The subjection of dependent peoples is not compatible with the self determination of nations or with the theory of democracy. Besides, the growth of enlightenment Which makes sympathy more cosmopolitan and the unity, of mankind more real is attacking the former narrow idea of unquestioning patriotism and of national supremacy.
Finally the enormous expansion of economic interests, by which the whole world become a single market, with trade and investment no longer limited by natural or political boundary lines is destroying the economic unity and self sufficiency of national state. Internationalism, as well as nationalism is a powerful force in present day political thought, and plan of Would organization receive serious consideration.
Whether these apparently opposite tendencies are in reality only two sides of the same movement, looking to the ultimate formation of real world federation on the basis of national units, the fun alone will reveal.
General features of state development:
The preceding discussion gives a brief survey of the Evolution of the state am those peoples that have contributed to modern political thought Several generalizations may be drawn horn this material:
1. From simple to complex:
As in the evolution of all organizations the process has been from the simple to the complex. Governmental organs have differentiated and their functions have become more definite, and this process has been accompanied by increasing unity as the interrelation of part and part became more complete. Consequently, the authority of the state. which was at first uncertain and irregular, grew more definite, at the same time making possible greater individual freedom, since the action of the state was no longer capricious or despotic.
2. Growth of political consciousness:
The development of the state has been accompanied by the growth of political consciousness and purposeful action. Early stages of social union were largely instinctive, but man gradually came to realize the possibility of making changes by his own deliberate efforts. Laws originated from legislation as well as from ancient custom: governmental organization was remodeled. its functions narrow ed or expanded, and the idea of reform and progress arose As political consciousness spread over a constantly widening pro portion of the state’s population democracy developed and, as sovereignty rested ultimately on a more extended basis, my existence of the state became more stable
3. Increase in arm and population:
In general, an increase in the area and population over which the sovereignty of the state extends characterizes the evolution of the state. While this process has not been uniform, as a comparison of the Roman Empire in the past with several small states at the present time bears witness, it is sufficiently marked to merit attention. Foul modern states control more than half time entire land area of the earth, the British Empire alone covering over one fifth.
When compared with the large number of political communities into which primitive man was grouped, or with the hundreds of fragments into which feudal Europe was divided, the half hundred sovereign states of the present day show considerable progress toward unity. The advance in political ability, making possible the successful working of governmental organization in large areas, the developments of communication and transportation, and the improvements in economic conditions, enabling a given area to support a large population all tend to increase the size of the state and the number of its citizens.
Obviously the form of government and the power of a state in peace and war will be affected by the extent of territory and by the number of inhabitants, size being a source of strength or weakness according to the conditions in each state.
4. Types of states:
The types of state that have appeared in the process of evolution fall into certain general classes. At one extreme stands what may be called the community state This type is small in area and numbers and consists of a natural local group. The tribal state, the city state, and the feudal state belong to this form. Geographic and economic conditions in the main determined which form the community state would take. Undeveloped hunting and pastoral peoples have lived in the tribal form throughout the entire period of human history. Agricultural villages, when not subordinated to a strong central authority, frequently take on the feudal form of organization this type appeared for a time in Egypt and japan, as well as in medieval Europe. Commercial and industrial centers, under similar conditions became free city states, and this type appeared at several periods of political development. At the other extreme stands the world empire type.
This form ignores natural barriers and diversities of peoples, and aims, usually by conquest, to bring the largest possible area under a single Political control. The ancient empires of the Orient, the Gram Oriental empire of Alexander, the Roman Empire, and the attempt of Napoleon to unify Europe are examples of this form of state. The ideal of world federation represented imperfectly in the League of Nations, has certain similarities to the world empire type, though differing in the voluntary pro crass of union by which it is put together, in the fact that the central authority is a representative assembly lather than an imperial head, and in the autonomous control of internal affairs left to the component members.
Between the community State and the empire stands the national state, Which rests on the patriotic principle of nationalism and gives attention to natural geographic frontiers. The national colonial empire is a combination of national state and empire, the national state exercising more or less control over scattered and diverse colonial possessions.
Relation of political institutions to other institutions:
State development has been marked by the separation of politics from some institutions and by increasing governmental control over Others. Religion, which was at first closely bound up in state existence is today almost entirely separate the private life of individuals is under less state supervision than formerly on the other hand. The idea that the state Should carry on certain activities which public welfare demands, and which individuals cannot or will not undertake, is gaining ground. Education sanitation the care of defectives, and the prevention of crime are illustrations of this kind of growth. During the past century especially the fundamental changes in economic life have caused a complete reversal in the attitude of men to the state. Instead of the individualism that opposed the extension of state functioning there is now a growing demand for increased activity on the part of the government in its relation to business. At the s time this state interference, now eagerly demanded, differs fret the state interference of earlier centuries. That was executive in nature irregular and often capricious in enforcement and removed and sanction from popular control. Such governmental encroachment has been greatly reduced. The expanding authority of the modern state is legislative in nature and our detailed statutes multiplying year by year, are at least fairly definite and uniform, and have their origin in popular representative bodies. However dangerous in the future the zeal for making law may become men have not yet wholly lost their traditional hatred of executive power or their trust in representative assemblies.
6. Compromise between sovereignty and liberty:
In many ways the most significant general feature of state development is the method by which the compromise between state sovereignty and individual liberty has been worked out. Primitive man, untamed and anarchistic, needed to be taught obedience hence the first successful states were those whose customs were most rigid and whose organization was most despotic. Such a system was fatal, however, both to the progress of the individual and to unity when the state expanded.
On this basis the Oriental empire possessed neither organization nor freedom. The Greeks, in developing individual freedom, sacrificed unity Rome. perfecting her organization, crushed liberty. The Teutons, combining their political ideas with the ruins of Roman institutions, ultimately evolved the modern democratic national state, man’s most advanced political product. In it the diminutive size of the city state, too weak to carry on the activities necessary for defense and public welfare, is avoided, as well as the unwieldy and stagnant uniformity of the world empire.
The physical basis of ethnic and geographic unity is utilized, and political bonds are strengthened by common sentiments and interests which seem natural and inevitable. Finally, by the principles of local self government and representation, an organization which secures unity in common affairs without sacrificing individual liberty is made possible, and democracy over large areas is at last secured. That the ultimate form of the state has been reached is not likely.
The balance between sovereignty and liberty is too nicely adjusted to be easily maintained and tends always toward despotism on the one hand and anarchy on the other. Constant vigilance is necessary to preserve this balance under changing and modern state are not agreed as to what is the proper adjustment or how it may best be secured.