Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 2.djvu/410
sequences for the inferior. Thus in case the organization consists of three elements, a highest central power, an extended lowest stratum, and a middle stratum, which exercises toward the lowest stratum a portion of the governmental functions, either from original and free right, or by virtue of transference from the supreme power—then is the working of this middle stratum not so much a connection as a separation of the two others. So long as subordination defined by relations to landed estates (Gutsunterthänigkeit) continued, the noble was a bearer of the administrative organization of the state. He exercised toward his subordinates judicial, economic and fiscal functions without which the state of that period could not have existed, and he certainly in this wise bound the subordinate masses to this general interest and the supreme power. Since, however, the noble has also private interests, in pursuance of which he wants to use the peasant for his own purposes, it comes about that he employs to this end his position as a part of the administrative organization between government and peasants, and he annuls in fact for a long time those measures and laws through which the government sought to be of immediate assistance to the peasantry—something which for a long time is possible only through the mediation of the nobility.
This combination, the erection of different superiors the one above the other, exhibits a very important sociological formation: elements which are at once superior and inferior. This is the characteristic form of the hierarchy, upon which every highly elaborated organization of a group is based. Wherever the realization of an objective purpose is concerned, the personal coöperation of the elements which are to produce the result will take place for the most part in the form of a stratified numerously articulated superiority and inferiority. Accordingly the Roman slave family was precisely and numerously graded, from the villicus and procurator who managed independently whole branches of production in the great slave industries, down through all possible classifications to the foremen of groups of ten laborers. I would refer to the constitution of every factory, of every enterprise on