Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/228

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216
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

self-enslaved, his laws added largely to the enfranchised class as distinguished from the slave-class. In another aspect this change, leaving equitable contracts untouched, prevented those inequitable contracts under which, by a lien on himself, a man gave more than an equivalent for the sum he borrowed. And, with a decreasing number of cases in which there existed the relation of master and slave, went an increasing number of cases in which benefits were exchanged by agreement The odium attaching to that lending at interest which ended in slavery of the debtor having disappeared, legitimate lending became general and unopposed, the rate of interest was free, and accumulated capital was made available. Then, as coöperating cause, and as ever increasing consequence, came the growth of a population favorably circumstanced for acting in concert. Urban people, who, daily in contact, can gather one another's ideas and feelings, and who, by quickly diffused intelligence, can be rapidly assembled, can coöperate far more readily than those who are scattered through rural districts. With all which direct and indirect results of industrial development must be joined the ultimate result upon character, produced by daily fulfilling and enforcing contracts—a discipline which, while requiring each man to recognize the claims of others, also requires him to maintain his own. In Solon himself this attitude which joins assertion of personal rights with respect for the rights of others was well exemplified; since, when his influence was great he refused to become a despot, though pressed to do so, and in his latter days he resisted at the risk of death the establishment of a despotism. In various ways, then, increasing industrial activity tended to when the original oligarchic form, and initiate a more popular form. And though these effects of industrialism, joined with subsequently-accumulated effects, were for a long time held in check by the usurping Peisistratidæ, yet, being ready to show themselves when, some time after the expulsion of these tyrants, there came the Kleisthenian revolution, they were doubtless instrumental in then initiating the popular form of government.

Though not in so great a degree, yet in some degree, the same causes operated in liberalizing and widening the Roman oligarchy. Rome "was indebted for the commencement of its importance to international commerce"; and, as Mommsen points out, "the distinction between Rome and the mass of the other Latin towns must certainly be traced back to its commercial position, and to the type of character produced by that position. . . . Rome was the emporium of the Latin districts." Moreover, as in Athens, though doubtless to a smaller extent, trade brought an increasing settlement of strangers, to whom rights were given, and who, joined with emancipated slaves and with clients, less bound to their patrons, formed an industrial population, the eventual inclusion of which in the burgess-body caused that widening of the constitution effected by Servius Tullius.

The Italian republics of later days again show us, in numerous