Importance of the physical basis of the state: in the last analysis, all phenomena are manifestations of physical energy,and the activities of the state are no exception.Given the individuals that compose the state, the various combinations of these individuals that the natural environment in which they exist ,and the inter relations among these , natural science will explain the state in its own terms. Without encroaching upon this field , political science may at least view the raw materials of which the state is composed and their influence on state formation and development the analysis of the essential factors of the state has already indicated its physical basis.
Territory and population,or stated more broadly nature and man,are the foundation of the efforts of man may, of course, modify the influence which the contour of the earth’s surface would otherwise exert on the area of states. The maintenance for several centuries of Roman legions along the Rhine frontier served the same purpose at an impenetrable mountain barrier, and helps to explain the present separation between France and Germany.
On the other hand, the engineering skill of man, the development of transportation and communication, and improvements in the methods of government enable modern States to include several geographic unities, as the expansion of the United States bears witness. Even in early times the military genius and governing ability of the Romans enabled them to establish a great empire regardless of geographic obstacles.
The mere question of size exercises considerable influence on state development It was the expansion of Rome that checked her democratic tendencies and caused a reaction toward the centralized despotism of the Empire and it is the territorial growth of modern democracies that has necessitated the present highly developed forms of representative government and federation.
2. The isolation of the physical basis of the state:
The configuration of the earth determines in large degree whether a state shall develop apart from external influences, or whether it shall constantly have peaceful or hostile relations with other states The Rhine boundary, the weak spot in the frontiers of France and Germany, has been the bone of contention between them, and the battlefield of Europe.
Greece, with her excellent harbors and her coast fringed with islands, was naturally led to intercourse, commerce, and colonization. Spain and England, both cut off by natural boundaries from neighboring states, worked out their political institutions with little interference and each developed commerce, a navy, and a colonial empire. States such as Russia, France, and Germany, with powerful neighbors across weak frontiers, naturally maintain large armies. States sum as England, Japan and the United States, protected by the sea from Powerful neighbors depend primarily upon naval protection.
What a state gains in the way of protection by a natural frontier is partly offset by the danger of provincialism and internal stagnation, and, in case of water boundaries by the dependence upon naval strength to maintain external relations. The wall that keeps others out also shuts those behind it in. An isolated state tends to develop a strong but narrow national spirit a state with many external contacts becomes more cosmopolitan in its point of view.
The fall of Spain was brought about both by her internal narrowness and by the loss of her colonies as a result of naval decline. England, comparatively safe from invasion, must be able to protect her commerce in order to avoid a similar fate. The body of water that separates Ireland from the remainder of the British Isles is largely responsible for the differences of nationality and religion and for the feeling of hostility against England that the Irish retain.
The existence of mountains in wales and Scotland has had somewhat similar effects upon the Unity of Great Britain. Customs and laws are affected by isolation. For example, Blackstone states that in the Isle of Man, take away a horse or ex was no felony, but a trespass, because of the difficulty in that little territory of concealing them or carrying them off but to steal a pig or a fowl, which could easily be consumed was a capital misdemeanor, and the offender was punished by death.
The arrangement of land and water areas largely determines the commercial importance of a state. When the Nile and Euphrates valleys were the seats of empire, Phoenicia, the middle country, facing the Mediterranean, was the great commercial power. As civilization shifted westward and surrounded the Mediterranean. Greece and Rome in turn held the strategic position. The discovery of the New World and the growing importance of the Atlantic gave Spain, France. Holland, and England advantages of geographic location while present conditions, in the opening up of Pacific lands, find the United States, facing on both oceans, in an enviable position.
The direction of external activity :
Social as well as physical movements tend to follow lines of least resistance the arrangement of mountains, rivers, and seas determining in large measure the trend of migration and of conquest. Greece, With her chief mountain system on the west and with good harbors and numerous islands on the east naturally came first into contact with the old and powerful Oriental peoples.
Rome facing in the opposite direction, had early relations with Carthage and with the Gauls and other barbarians to the west While not until late in her development did she come into contact with Greece, with whom she stood, as it were, back to back. As a result, Greece, compelled at first to wage defensive wars against powerful invaders, was thrown back upon herself and developed an internal life of remarkable energy Rome, thrown into relations with inferior peoples, naturally began her career of external conquest that resulted in world wide dominion and an imperial form of government.
River valleys have always formed the easiest means of access to new lands and mountains, deserts, and the sea, the greatest barriers. The St. Lawrence and Missionaries the French traders and missionaries to scattered settlements, while the Appalachian Mountains restricted the English colonists to a narrow strip of coast for over a century. The resultant spirit of unity and of common interests among the English colonists was manifested later.
Besides, it was no accident that the final clash between the English and French in America should occur over the possession of the headwaters of the Ohio, one of the natural en~ trances into the western lands. The early migrations of peoples, the colonization of newly discovered areas, and the immigration of recent times have all followed natural lines of movement.
Civilization and culture, as well as war and conquest, expand in the directions where natural barriers least prevent social intercourse. In ancient times physical features determined the trails of savages and the routes of caravans in modern times the location of cities and the direction and nature of facilities for communication, travel, transportation, and trade have been fundamentally affected by geographic contour.
Climate, by which we mean especially natural conditions of light, heat, and moisture, affects the individuals that compose the state, rather than the state as a unit. It is however difficult to separate its influence (tom that of fertility of the sail and resultant animal and vegetables resources, which affect the group as well as the individual. In general it may be said that climatic extremes of any kind interfere the higher forms of state existence.
The dazzling brilliancy of reflected light from arctic snows or tropical deserts, the long nights of the polar regions, the extreme cold, which checks vigorous growth, the extreme heat, which enervates, the malarial marshes of rainy regions, the parched lands of rain less areas all these make existence existence and organized political life possible only in its undeveloped forms. All great states have arisen, in areas where a temperate climate is combined with a moderate amount of moisture.
While the earliest states emerged in a comparatively warm Climate, where the bounty of nature furnished food in abundance and gave leisure for social development, the highest forms of state life arose in those cooler climates that stimulated energy, resulting in continuous progress. A temperate climate also gives contrasted season, with resultant variety of activities which react sharply on one another and make for progress.
In general, a close correspondence obtains between climate and racial temperament, with important consequences in state life. The peoples of the colder temperate zone are energetic, provident, serious, thoughtful rather than emotional, cautious rather than impulsive. The peoples of warm countries are easy going, improvident, gay, emotional, and imaginative. A cold climate, where the struggle with nature for food is severe and where shelter is essential, gives an autumn tinge to life and has a steadying effect on the human heart and brain.
In warmer lands, where nature is generous, national life has the buoyancy and thoughtlessness of childhood, with its charm and its weaknesses. Tropical climate tends to relax the mental and moral fiber, induces indolence, self indulgence, and various excesses which lower the physical tone of the population. The political stability of northern peoples has often been contrasted with the instability of their southern neighbors.
The ability of a people to adjust itself to a climate different from that in which it originated has important effects on political life. The black race is not adapted to the rigors of life in a cold climate, its death rate increasing markedly as it moves into a winter zone. The white race finds it difficult to live in the tropics and as it expands its colonial policy, it is compelled to import a ruling class, constantly renewed the machine of governmental and economic exploitation being supported by a servile native population engaged in agriculture, which in the tropics is fatal to the white man. The ability of the Chinese to adapt themselves to a wide climatic range gives them a marked advantage in the political future of the world.
The effect of climate on birth rate and on the age of maturity influences the state indirectly. It has even been asserted that the type of crime in warm countries differs from that in cold countries.
In the former, where population is dense, human life cheap, and the contact of man with man consequently great, crime takes the form of offenses against the person murder, assault, rape in colder climates, where sparser population brings man less in touch with his fellows, and where the means of overcoming nature are more important, crime takes chiefly the form of offenses against property.
As a result, different ideas of morality, influenced somewhat at least by climate, will prevail and these in turn will affect the laws and organization of the state. While it is, of course, easy to push such reasoning to extremes, the truth remains that political existence, as one of the forms of social activity, is modified by every phase of the physical environment in which that activity takes place.
Natural products which man may apply directly to his wants are powerful factors in state development:
1. Mineral resources:
In the early stages of civilization mineral resources were so important that the terms “stone age,” “bronze age,” “iron age,” are often used to characterize certain forms of culture. Some writers go so far as to interpret the entire progress of humanity in terms of the metals. From the standpoint of political life, those people who used weapons and tools of bronze or iron had enormous advantages over tribes that retained cruder implements of wood or stone and the conquest which naturally followed, necessitating closer organization and some form of rules to determine the relation of conqueror to conquered, were powerful actors in the rise of government a d law.
Later, when gold and silver had become standards of value the possession of these metals was eagerly sought. Desire for plunder been It the been at the basis of many wars that have made of unmade states search for gold underlay much of the early conquest and colonization in the New world and the preeminence of Spain in European affairs during the sixteenth century Was due, in part, to the power brought her by the wealth of Mexico and Peru.
In the modern industrial age deposits of coal and iron are essential and those states fortunate enough to possess large quantities of these minerals, easy of access, have enormous advantage. The present importance of oil is a factor in international affairs, owing to the efforts of states to secure For themselves a reserve supply of this mineral fuel for the future
2. Vegetable resources :
The earliest states arose where nature furnished food in abundance. There population became comparatively dense and stable, and contact of man with man developed civilization and made political authority necessary. Rice, grains, and the date palm in the Old World, maize and the banana in the New World, formed the basis of existence at a time when man was dependent upon nature for sustenance.
The great empires of Egypt, China, Babylon, and India, of Mexico and Peru, grew up in natural granaries. The less fertile soil of Greece compelled her to depend more and more upon commerce for her food supply and her chief products, wine and olive oil, commodities of large value in small bulk, thus serving as a means of exchange, facilitated such intercourse. The inability of England to furnished sufficient food for her present population is a fundamental factor in British political life and policy.
Pressure of population on the means of subsistence is at the basis of the migrations of early peoples, of the colonization of new lands as they were discovered, and of the immigration of the present day. The thin soil of New England and the abundance of timber naturally turned her to shipbuilding and trade as cotton became “king” in the South, the institution of Negro slavery was firmly fixed. Thus the American Revolution and the Civil War can be partially explained on the basis of vegetation.
The struggle for the Spice Islands was the key to much European history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, while more recently the sugar situation in Cuba paved the way for our war with Spain and led indirectly to colonial expansion and imperialism,coffee is an important factor in the politics of Brazil and control of the world’s supply of rubber is an element in present world politics.
3. Animal resources :
The presence of game was an important factor in early development and upon whether this game was large and dangerous or small and timid depended the amount of cooperation required, and thus, indirectly, the form of social. organization. Where the horse, the cow, and the sheep existed, the transition from the hunting to the pastoral stage of economic development was possible, with resultant changes in social organization and this fact serves as at least a partial explanation of the advanced civilizations found at a comparatively early period in Asia and Europe. Domestication of animals marked a long stride toward permanent food supply and stable organization and, as it created a form of wealth, it necessitated some kind of property regulation.
Absence of animals suitable for domestication and for beasts of burden helps to explain the comparative backwardness of civilization among the American Indians and among the aborigines of Australia. Abundance of fish played an important part in the formation of the Hanseatic League, the rise of the Netherlands, and the development of New England, while the fur bearing animals of North America determined the French type of colonization in that region.
The part that the horse played in medieval feudalism has seldom been adequately appreciated and the development of sheep raising in England during the sixteenth century hastened the fundamental changes in economic and social life that marked the rise of modern democracy.
General Aspects of Nature :
Several writers have pointed out that the type of man and of society is influenced by the general aspects of nature. In some parts of the earth man is surrounded by nature in violent and terrible aspects earth quakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, avalanches, great mountains, vast deserts, mighty rivers, form the background of human life. Under these conditions, which appeal to man’s imagination rather than to his reason, man fears nature he hesitates to investigate and experiment he lacks self reliance: his I religion becomes superstitious his art, monstrous his organization, despotic.
The course of civilization in India and Peru may serve as examples. On the other hand, certain parts of the Earth are on a smaller and more quiet scale. No awful phenomena hold man in terror, and the mastery of man over natural forces progresses rapidly. In such circumstances moderation, individualism, and reason develop art becomes beautiful, religion rational, and the state democratic. Such conditions ancient Greece and modern Europe exhibit. These results came in part mm the isolation of the former region and the accessibility of the latter.
Mountain areas discourage progress because they are areas of isolation and confinement, remote from the currents of men and ideas that move along the valleys.
They are region of hard labor and little leisure, of poverty, and of cramped minds. In the fertile alluvial plains and river valleys are wealth, leisure, contact with many minds, and urban, centers where commodities and ideas are exchanged. Such areas afford the Conditions of culture and of progress.
Changes in Environment :
While individual and state are thus influenced by the physical environment, the subordination is not complete. The distinguishing feature of man is his ability to modify his environment and with the growth of intelligence comes the mastery of man over natural forces, and the creation of more favorable conditions. Bridges and tunnels decrease the importance of natural boundaries forestry and irrigation modify the climate.
The draining of swamps, as in England or Holland, and the irrigation of arid lands, as in Egypt or the western United States, cannot fail to influence the life of the state there existing. By proper care the quality of the soil may be completely Changed animals and plants may be made to flourish in parts If the world remote from their original homes and by cultivation and breeding the value of species of plants and animals may be wonderfully increased. Almost all the arts and inventions that mark the progress of civilization are steps towards the increasing use or control of the natural environment.
By conquering nature man escapes the constant fear of unknown danger and the uncertainty of food mipply, and attains security and leisure, both of which are necessary for progress. The use of tools and weapons increases man’s natural strength and dexterity clothing and artificial shelter enable him to withstand climatic changes and the use of fire gives him warmth and light, better prepared food, the means of working minerals, and, finally, artificial power.
Building upon the crude guesses of the early alchemist, the modern chemist analyzes the materials of: which the earth is composed and recombines them for the convenience of mankind. Even the complex machinery of the present day, which performs intricate processes, is but the logical result of that development, begun ages ago by primitive men, by means of which natural forces are utilized and natural laws applied for human benefit.
The development of transportation is one of the most important means by which man has conquered nature. The growth of commerce and travel, the methods which make possible the transfer of commodities arid persons, rapidly and cheaply, from place to place, are breaking down man’s dependence upon geographic location and the rise and fall of cities and of states are largely determined by the lines of railways, canals, and ocean traffic.
Transmission of power, a result of the development of transportation, has far reaching results. Not only may coal, wood, and oil be used as fuel where conditions are most favorable for human labor, but labor itself may be transported to places Where natural conditions are most advantageous. Recent developments in the transmission of electric power tend to reduce the importance of location. Finally, the transmission of information further reduces the importance of natural influences.
Telegraph, telephone, radio, and the mail service cooperate in binding the earth into a unity and in making knowledge international. While nature still places certain limitations upon the activities of man, the progress of civilization is weakening those limits and making it more possible for man consciously to direct his own development and the forms of his institutions.
Certain natural factors which were important in the lives of early states are now of little influence, because man has been able to modify or overcome them. However, other natural factors, such as coal, oil and electricity, that were formerly of no effect, have recently become important in political life.
Navigation of the air has been perhaps the most important development of recent years in its political consequences. It has made distance less important and has overcome most of the obstacles of former geographic barriers. Flying at high altitudes and on the shortest routes, which in many cases are across the north polar regions, airships not only ignore the barrier of climate, but also make important, for strategic reasons, the land areas bordering the north arctic.
Air navigation has revolutionized warfare and diminished the importance of sea power States, such as Great Britain and the United States, formerly save from attack as long as they had naval protection, no longer enjoy that advantage. The invention of rocket bombs with long range and of the atomic bomb, which can be carried by air over Vast distances, not only makes war more destructive, but also makes the configuration of the earth of little importance. What the future effects of these developments will be ml the political history of mankind cannot yet be imagined.
The term geopolitics has come in to prominence in recent years as part of the Nazi philosophy of the state in Germany. Geopolitics is political geography applied to national power politics in the held of foreign policy it aims at improving the physical setting of the state.
Many earlier writers prepared the way for this concept. Bodin and Montesquieu gave attention to the influence of geography and climate on national states. In England, Henry T. Buckle, and in Germany, Karl Ritter, established the idea that the earth is an organic unity, that man’s destiny is conditioned by nature, and that history is geography in action. In the United States, Admiral A. T. Mahan emphasized the importance of sea power. In Germany, Friedrich Ratzel considered the role of national and boundaries, the necessity of national living space and the desirability of territorial expansion.
In Sweden, Rudolf Kjellen who coined the term geopolitics, viewed the state as a living organism which must grow by colonization and conquest, thus creating a few giant states. He listed Germany’s grievances and drew up a plan for her future conquests. Sir Halford Mackinder, a British geographer, emphasized the strategic value and potential economic and military power of the great “heartland,” comprising eastern Europe and western Asia and argued that the nation controlling this area could dominate the world. His ideas and those of Kjellen received much attention in Germany.
The doctrines of these writers were combined into a systematic plan for Germany’s future policies by General Karl Haushofer,” who became the “spatial philosopher” of Hitler’s Germany, and who set up an elaborate organization to assemble data Which would be valuable for world conquest. He defined geopolitics as the scientific foundation of the art of political action in the life and death struggle of state organisms for living space.
Accordingly, he put stress upon Germany’s need for additional territory, upon the importance of natural frontiers and sea out~ lets, upon the value of a strong national leader, and upon the sudden Blitzkrieg and total warfare. He favored a German Russian alliance and a lightning war on the western European states. He also urged a German Japanese alliance and emphasized the future importance of the Pacific area.
According to his plan, Europe would be controlled by Germany, the Pacific region would be dominated by Japan Russia and the United States, which were large enough to be self sufficient, would be limited to their internal interests. The earth would thus be divided among four great states, with Germany as the dominant world power. The connection between these doctrines and the military policy of Germany and its attempt to expand and to dominate Europe is quite apparent.