Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 10.djvu/211
MOOT POINTS IN SOCIOLOGY 199
tribution of power among the classes in occidental society that would aggravate rather than mitigate existing inequalities.
Still more momentous than the changes introduced by trade and migration are those resulting from the hostilities of societies. One of these effects is the strengthening of group-cohesion. It is now generally believed that the spread of feudal relations dur- ing the Dark Ages was due to the fact that "a little society compactly united under a feudal lord was greatly stronger for defense or attack than any body of kinsmen or co-villagers and than any assemblage of voluntary confederates," and that the insecurity following the break-up of the Roman Empire and the letting loose, first of the barbarians and later of the Northmen, drove men to the formation of such groups.
The Beni-Israel, who after their settlement in Canaan seemed fated to disintegrate into local communities, were welded into a nation by their wars with adjacent peoples. The Greek con- federacies came into being in consequence of the struggle with Persia. Under the hammer of war the Germans, who presented themselves to Caesar only in tribal relations, had by the fifth cen- tury become compacted into confederations of tribes, which later became homogeneous peoples. During her Hundred Years' War with England, France "acquired possession and consciousness of her life, her instincts, her genius, and her heart. She had been but a kingdom ; she was now a nation. The idea of father- land had become disengaged in her soul." The Netherlands were compacted by their war of liberation. In our own history we have but to recall the union of the New England colonies brought about by 'King Philip's War and the Confederation of thirteen colonies formed to make armed resistance to Great Britain.
Religious unity also is promoted by war. So long as they were undisturbed in the home they had won for themselves in Canaan, the Beni-Israel were apt to succumb to the seductions of the local Baal cults. But whenever stress and danger united them against a common foe, their loyalty to Yahweh, the god of their nomad life, was revived. The waves of foreign invasion that repeatedly broke upon them prevented their assimilation to the Canaanites and the failure of their religious career.