Popular Science Monthly/Volume 18/January 1881/The Development of Political Institutions III
|←Notes||Popular Science Monthly Volume 18 January 1881 (1881)
The Development of Political Institutions III
By Herbert Spencer
|Physical Education I→|
POLITICAL integration is in some cases furthered, and in other cases hindered, by conditions, external and internal. There are the characters of the environment, and there are the characters of the men composing the society. We will glance at them in this order.
How political integration is prevented by an inclemency of climate, or an infertility of soil, which keeps down population, has been already shown. To the instances before named may be added that of the Seminoles, of whom Schoolcraft says, "Being so thinly scattered over a barren desert, they seldom assemble to take black drink, or deliberate on public matters"; and, again, that of certain Snake Indians, of whom he says, "The paucity of game in this region is, I have little doubt, the cause of the almost entire absence of social organization." We saw, too, that great uniformity of surface, of mineral products, of flora, of fauna, are impediments; and that on the special characters of the flora and fauna, as containing species favorable or unfavorable to human welfare, in part depends the individual prosperity required for social growth. It was also pointed out that structure of the habitat, as facilitating or impeding communication, and as rendering escape easy or hard, has much to do with the size of the social aggregate formed. To the illustrations before given, showing that mountain-haunting peoples, and peoples living in deserts and marshes, are difficult to consolidate, while peoples penned in by barriers are consolidated with facility, I may here add two significant ones not yet noticed. One occurs in the Polynesian Islands—Tahiti, Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, and the rest—where, restrained within limits by surrounding seas, the inhabitants have become united more or less closely into aggregates of considerable sizes. The other is furnished by ancient Peru, where, before the time of the Incas, semi-civilized communities had been formed in valleys separated from each other "on the coast, by hot and almost impassable deserts, and in the interior by lofty mountains, or cold and trackless punas." And to the implied inability of these peoples to escape governmental coercion, thus indicated by Squier as a factor in their civilization, is ascribed, by the ancient Spanish writer Cieza, the difference between them and the neighboring Indians of Popayan, who could retreat, "whenever attacked, to other fertile regions." How, conversely, within the area occupied, the massing of men together is furthered by ease of internal communication, is sufficiently manifest. The importance of it is implied by the remark of Grant concerning equatorial Africa, that "no jurisdiction extends over a district which can not be crossed in three or four days." And such facts, implying that political integration may increase as the means of going from place to place become better, remind us how, from Roman times downward, the formation of roads has made larger social aggregates possible.
Evidence that a certain type of physique is requisite has been elsewhere given. We saw that the races which have proved capable of evolving large societies have been races previously subject, for long periods, to conditions fostering vigor of constitution. I will here add only that the constitutional energy needed for continuous labor, without which there can not be civilized life and the massing of men that accompanies it, is an energy not to be quickly acquired under any conditions or through any discipline, but to be acquired only by inherited modifications slowly accumulated. Good evidence that in lower types of men there is a physical incapacity for continuous labor, is supplied by the results of the Jesuit government over the Paraguay Indians. These Indians were reduced to industrial habits, and to an orderly life which was thought by many writers admirable; but there eventually resulted the fatal evil that they became infertile. Not improbably, the infertility habitually observed in savage races that have been led into civilized habits, is consequent on taxing the physique to a degree greater than it is constituted to bear.
Certain moral traits which favor, and others which hinder, the union of men into large groups, were pointed out when treating of "The Primitive Man—Emotional." Here I will reillustrate such of these as concern the fitness or unfitness of the type for subordination, "The Abors, as they themselves say, are like tigers, two can not dwell in one den," writes Mr. Dalton; and "their houses are scattered singly, or in groups of two and three." Conversely, some of the African races not only yield when coerced, but admire one who coerces them; instance the Damaras, who, as Galton says, "court slavery" and "follow a master as spaniels would." The like is alleged of other South Africans. One of them said to a gentleman known to me: "You're a pretty fellow to be a master; I've been with you two years and you've never beaten me once." Obviously the dispositions thus strongly contrasted are dispositions on which the impossibility or possibility of political integration largely depends. There must be added, as also influential, the presence or the absence of the nomadic instinct. Varieties of men, in whom wandering habits have been unchecked during countless generations of hunting life and pastoral life, show us that, even when forced into agricultural life, their tendency to move about greatly hinders aggregation. It is thus among the hill-tribes of India. "The Kookies are naturally a migratory race, never occupying the same place for more than two or, at the utmost, three years"; and the like holds of the Mishmees, who "never name their villages"—the existence of them being too transitory. In some races this migratory instinct survives and shows its effects, even after the formation of populous towns. Writing of the Bachassins in 1812, Burchell says that Litakun, containing 15,000 inhabitants, had been twice removed during a period of ten years. Clearly, people so little attached to the localities they were born in are not so easily united into large societies as people who love their early homes.
Concerning the intellectual traits which aid or impede the cohesion of men into masses, I may supplement what was said when delineating "The Primitive Man—Intellectual," by two corollaries of much significance. Social life, being coöperative life, presupposes not only an emotional nature fitted for coöperation, but also such. intelligence as perceives the benefits of coöperation, and can so regulate actions as to effect it. The unreflectiveness, the deficient consciousness of causation, and the utter lack of constructive imagination, shown by the uncivilized, hinder coöperation to a degree difficult to believe until proof is seen. Even the semi-civilized exhibit in quite simple matters an absence of concert which is astonishing. Implying, as this inaptitude does, that coöperation can at first be effective only where there is obedience to peremptory command, it follows that there must be not only an emotional nature which produces subordination, but also an intellectual nature which produces faith in a commander. That credulity which leads to awe of the capable man, as a possessor of supernatural power, and which afterward, causing dread of his ghost, prompts fulfillment of his remembered injunctions—that credulity which initiates the religious control of a deified chief, reënforcing the control of his divine descendant—is a credulity which can not be dispensed with during early stages of integration. Skepticism is fatal while the character, moral and intellectual, is such as to necessitate compulsory coöperation.
Political integration, then, hindered in many regions by environing conditions, has, in many races of mankind, been prevented from advancing far by unfitnesses of nature—physical, moral, and intellectual.
Besides certain fitnesses of nature in the united individuals, social union requires a considerable likeness of kind in their natures. At the outset the likeness of kind is insured by greater or less kinship in blood. Evidence of this meets us everywhere among the uncivilized. Of the Bushmen, Lichtenstein says: "Families alone form associations in single small hordes; sexual feelings, the instinctive love to children, or the customary attachment among relations, are the only ties that keep them in any sort of union." Again, "The Rock Veddahs are divided into small clans or families associated for relationship, who agree in partitioning the forest among themselves for hunting-grounds," etc. And this rise of the society out of the family, seen in these least organized groups, reappears in the considerably organized groups of more advanced savages. Instance the New-Zealanders, of whom we read that "eighteen historical nations occupy the country, each being subdivided into many tribes, originally families, as the prefix Ngati, signifying offspring (equivalent to O or Mac), obviously indicates." This connection between blood-relationship and social union is well shown by Humboldt's remarks concerning South American Indians. "Savages," he says, "know only their own family, and a tribe appears to them but a more numerous assemblage of relations." When Indians who inhabit the missions see those of the forest, who are unknown to them, they say: "They are, no doubt, my relations; I understand them when they speak to me." But these very savages detest all who are not of their family or their tribe; "they know the duties of family ties and of relationship, but not those of humanity."
When treating of the domestic relations, reasons were given for concluding that social stability increases as kinships become more definite and extended; since development of kinships, while insuring the likeness of nature which furthers coöperation, involves the strengthening and multiplication of those family bonds which check disruption. Where promiscuity is prevalent, or where marriages are temporary, the known relationships are relatively few and not close; and there is little more social cohesion than results from belonging to the same type of man. Polyandry, especially of the higher kind, produces relationships of some definiteness, which admit of being traced further; so serving better to tie the social group together. And a greater advance in the nearness and the number of family connections results from polygyny. But, as was shown, it is from monogamy that there arise family connections which are at once the most definite and the most wide spreading in their ramifications; and out of monogamic families are developed the largest and most coherent societies. In two allied yet distinguishable ways does monogamy favor social solidarity.
Unlike the children of the polyandrous family, who are something less than half brothers and sisters, and unlike the children of the polygamous family, most of whom are only half brothers and sisters, the children of the monogamous family are, in the great majority of cases, all of the same blood on both sides. Being thus themselves more closely related, it follows that their clusters of children are more closely related; and where, as happens in early stages, these clusters of children when grown up continue to form a community, and labor together, they are united alike by their kinships arid by their industrial interests. Though with the growth of a family group into a gens which spreads, the industrial interests divide, yet these kinships prevent the divisions from becoming as marked as they would otherwise become. And, similarly, when the gens, in course of time, develops into the tribe. Nor is this all. If local circumstances bring together several such tribes, which are still allied in blood, though more remotely, it results that when, seated side by side, they are gradually fused, partly by interspersion and partly by intermarriage, the compound society formed, united by numerous and complicated links of kinship as well as by political interests, is more strongly bound together than it would otherwise be. Dominant ancient societies illustrate this truth. Says Grote: "All that we hear of the most ancient Athenian laws is based upon the gentile and phratric divisions, which are treated throughout as extensions of the family." Similarly, according to Mommsen, on the "Roman household was based the Roman state, both as respected its constituent elements and its form. The community of the Roman people arose out of the junction (in whatever way brought about) of such ancient clanships as the Romilii, Voltinii, Fabii, etc." And Sir Henry Maine has shown in detail the ways in which the simple family passes into the house community, and eventually the village community. Though, in presence of the evidence furnished by races having irregular sexual relations, we can not allege that sameness of blood is the primary reason for political coöperation—though in numerous tribes which have not risen into the pastoral state, there is combination for offense and defense among those whose names are recognized marks of different bloods—yet where there has been established descent through males, and especially where monogamy prevails, sameness of blood becomes largely, if not mainly, influential in determining political coöperation. And this truth, under one of its aspects, is the truth above enunciated, that combined action, requiring a certain likeness of nature among those who carry it on, is, in early stages, most successful among those who, being descendants of the same ancestors, have the greatest likeness.
An all-important though less direct effect of blood-relationship, and especially that more definite blood-relationship which arises from monogamic marriage, has to be added. I mean community of religion—a likeness of ideas and sentiments embodied in the worship of adeity. Beginning, as this does, with the propitiation of the deceased founder of the family, and shared in, as it is, by the multiplying groups of descendants, as the family spreads, it becomes a further means of holding together the compound cluster gradually formed, and checking the antagonisms that arise between the component clusters: so favoring integration. The influence of the bond supplied by a common cult everywhere meets us in ancient history. Each of the cities in primitive Egypt was a center for the worship of a special divinity; and no one who, unbiased by foregone conclusions, observes the extraordinary development of ancestor-worship, under all its forms, in Egypt, can doubt the origin of this divinity. Of the Greeks we read that "each family had its own sacred rites and funereal commemoration of ancestors, celebrated by the master of the house, to which none but members of the family were admissible: the extinction of a family, carrying with it the suspension of these religious rites, was held by the Greeks to be a misfortune, not merely from the loss of the citizens composing it, but also because the family gods and the manes of deceased citizens were thus deprived of their honors and might visit the country with displeasure. The larger associations, called Gens, Phratry, Tribe, were formed by an extension of the same principle—of the family considered as a religious brotherhood, worshiping some common god or hero with an appropriate surname, and recognizing him as their joint ancestor."
A like bond was generated in a like manner in the Roman community. Each curia, which was the homologue of the phratry, had a head, "whose chief function was to preside over the sacrifices." And, on a larger scale, the same thing held with the entire society. The primitive Roman king was a priest of the deities common to all; "he held intercourse with the gods of the community, whom he consulted and whom he appeased." The beginnings of this religious bond, here exhibited in a developed form, are still traceable in India. Sir Henry Maine, says, "The joint family of the Hindoos is that assemblage of persons who would have joined in the sacrifices at the funeral of some common ancestor if he had died in their lifetime." So that political integration, while furthered by that likeness of nature which identity of descent involves, is again furthered by that likeness of religion simultaneously arising from this identity of descent.
Thus is it, too, at a later stage, with that less pronounced likeness of nature characterizing men of the same race who have multiplied and spread in such ways as to form adjacent small societies. Coöperation among them continues to be furthered, though less effectually, by the community of their natures, by the community of their traditions, ideas, and sentiments, as well as by their community of language. Among men of diverse types, coöperation is necessarily hindered not only by that absence of mutual comprehension caused by ignorance of one another's words, but also by unlikenesses in their ways of thinking and feeling. It needs but to remember how often, even among those who speak the same language, quarrels arise from misinterpretations of things said, to see what fertile sources of confusion and antagonism must be the partial or complete differences of speech which habitually accompany differences of race. Similarly, those who are widely unlike in their emotional natures, or in their intellectual natures, perplex one another by unexpected conduct—a fact on which travelers habitually remark. Hence a further obstacle to combined action. Diversities of custom, too, become causes of dissension. Where a food eaten by one people is regarded by another with disgust, where an animal held sacred by the one is by the other treated with contempt, where a salute which the one expects is never made by the other, there must be continually generated alienations which hinder joint efforts. Other things equal, facility of coöperation will be proportionate to the amount of fellow-feeling; the fellow-feeling is prevented by whatever prevents men from behaving in the same ways under the same conditions. The working together of the original and derived factors above enumerated is well exhibited in the following passage from Grote: "The Hellens were all of common blood and parentage—were all descendants of the common patriarch Hellen. In treating of the historical Greeks, we have to accept this as a datum: it represents the sentiment under the influence of which they moved and acted. It is placed by Herodotus in the front rank, as the chief of those four ties which bound together the Hellenic aggregate: 1. Fellowship of blood; 2. Fellowship of language; 3. Fixed domiciles of gods, and sacrifices common to all; 4. Like manners and dispositions."
Influential as we thus find to be the likeness of nature which is insured by common descent, the implication is that, in the absence of considerable likeness, the larger political aggregates formed are unstable, and can be maintained only by a coercion which, some time or other, is sure to fail. Though other causes have conspired, yet this has doubtless been a part cause of the dissolution of great empires in past ages. At the present time the decay of the Turkish Empire is largely if not chiefly ascribable to it. Our own Indian Empire, too, held together by force in a state of artificial equilibrium, threatens some day to illustrate, by its fall, the incohesion arising from lack of congruity in its components.
One of the laws of evolution at large is, that integration results when like units are subject to the same force or to like forces ("First Principles," § 169); and, from the first stages of political integration up to the last, we find this law illustrated. Joint exposure to uniform external actions and joint reactions against them have from the beginning been the leading causes of union among members of societies.
Already there has been indirectly implied the truth that coherence is first given to small hordes of primitive men during combined opposition to enemies. Subject to the same danger, and uniting to meet this danger, they become, in the course of their coöperation against it, more bound together. In the first stages, this relation of cause and effect is clearly seen in the fact that such union as arises during a war disappears when the war is over: there is dispersion and loss of all such slight political subordination as was beginning to show itself. But it is by the integration of simple groups into compound groups, in the course of common resistance to foes and attacks upon them, that this process is best exemplified. The cases before given may be reënforced by others. Of the Karens, Mason says: "Each village, being an independent community, had always an old feud to settle with nearly every other village among their own people. But the common danger from more powerful enemies, or having common injuries to requite, often led to several villages uniting together for defense or attack." According to Kolben, "smaller nations of Hottentots, which may be near some powerful nation, frequently enter into an alliance, offensive and defensive, against the stronger nation." Among the New Caledonians, in Tanna, "six, or eight, or more of their villages unite, and form what may be called a district, or county, and all league together for mutual protection. . . . In war, two or more of these districts unite." In Samoa, "villages, in numbers of eight or ten, unite by common consent, and form a district or state for mutual protection"; and, in time of war, these districts themselves sometimes unite in twos and threes. The like has happened with historic peoples. It was during the wars of the Israelites, in David's time, that they passed from the state of separate tribes into the state of a consolidated ruling nation. The scattered Greek communities, previously aggregated into minor confederacies by minor wars, were prompted to the Panhellenic congress and to the subsequent coöperation, when the invasion of Xerxes was impending; and, of the Spartan and Athenian confederacies afterward formed, that of Athens acquired the hegemony, and finally the empire, during continued operations against the Persians. So, too, was it with the Teutonic races. The German tribes, originally without federal bond, formed occasional alliances for war. Between the first and fifth centuries these tribes gradually massed into great groups for resistance against or attack upon Rome. During the subsequent century the prolonged military confederations of peoples "of the same blood" had become states. And afterward these became aggregated into still larger states. And, to take a comparatively modern instance, it was during the wars between France and England that each passed from that condition, in which its component feudal groups were in considerable degrees independent, to the condition of a consolidated nation. As further showing how integration of smaller societies into larger ones is thus initiated, it may be added that at first the unions exist only for military purposes: each component society retains for a long time its independent internal administration, and it is only when joint action in war has become habitual that the cohesion is made permanent by a common political organization.
This compounding of smaller communities into larger by military coöperation is insured by the disappearance of such smaller communities as do not coöperate. Barth remarks that "the Fúlbe [Fulahs] are continually advancing, as they have not to do with one strong enemy, but with a number of small tribes without any bond of union." Of the Damaras, Galton says: "If one werft is plundered, the adjacent ones rarely rise to defend it, and thus the Namaquas have destroyed or enslaved piecemeal about one half of the whole Damara population." Similarly, according to Ondegardo, with the Inca conquests in Peru: "There was no general opposition to their advance, for each province merely defended its land without aid from any other." This process, so obvious and familiar, I name because it has a meaning which needs emphasizing. For we here see that, in the struggle for existence among societies, the survival of the fittest is the survival of those in which the power of military coöperation is the greatest; and military coöperation is that primary kind of coöperation which prepares the way for other kinds of coöperation. So that this formation of larger societies by the union of smaller ones in war, and this destruction or absorption of the smaller ununited societies by the united larger ones, is an inevitable process through which the varieties of men most adapted for social life supplant the less adapted varieties.
Respecting the integration thus effected, it remains only to remark that it necessarily follows this course—necessarily begins with the formation of simple groups and advances by the compounding and the recompounding of these. Impulsive in conduct and with feeble powers of coöperation, savages cohere so slightly that only small bodies of them can maintain their integrity. Not until such small bodies have severally had their members bound to one another by some slight political organization does it become possible to unite them into larger bodies; since the cohesion of these implies greater fitness for concerted action, and more developed organization for achieving it. And, similarly, these composite clusters must be to some extent consolidated before the composition can be carried a stage further. Passing over the multitudinous illustrations occurring among the uncivilized, it will suffice if I refer to those given before, and reënforce them by some which historic peoples have supplied. There is the fact that in primitive Egypt the numerous small societies (which eventually became the "nomes") first united into the two aggregates. Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, which were afterward joined into one; and the fact that, in ancient Greece, villages became united to adjacent towns before the towns became united into states, while this change preceded the change which united the states with one another; and the fact that, in the old English period, small principalities were massed into the divisions constituting the Heptarchy before these passed into something like a united whole. It is a principle in physics that, since the force with which a body resists strains increases only as the squares of its dimensions, while the strains which its own weight subject it to increase as the cubes of its dimensions, its power of maintaining its integrity becomes relatively less as its mass becomes greater. Something analogous may be said of societies. Small aggregates only can hold together while the cohesion is feeble, and successively larger aggregates become possible only as the greater strains implied are met by that greater cohesion which results from an adapted human nature, and a resulting development of social organization.
As social integration advances, the increasing aggregates exercise increasing restraints over their units—a truth which is the obverse of the one just set forth, that the maintenance of its integrity by a larger aggregate implies greater cohesion. The coercive forces by which aggregates keep their units together are at first very slight, and, becoming extreme at a certain stage of social evolution, afterward relax—or, rather, change their forms.
At the outset the individual savage gravitates to one group or other, prompted by sundry motives, but mainly by the desire for protection. Concerning the Patagonians, we read that no one can live apart: "If any of them attempted to do it, they would undoubtedly be killed, or carried away as slaves, as soon as they were discovered." In North America, among the Chinooks, "on the coast a custom prevails which authorizes the seizure and enslavement, unless ransomed by his friends, of every Indian met with at a distance from his tribe, although they may not be at war with each other." At first, however, though it is necessary to join some group, it is not necessary to continue in the same group. In early stages migrations from group to group are common. When much oppressed by their chief, Calmucks and Mongols desert him and go over to other chiefs. Of the Abipones, Dobrizhoffer says: "Without leave asked on their part, or displeasure evinced on his, they remove with their families whithersoever it suits them, and join some other cacique; and, when tired of the second, return with impunity to the horde of the first." Similarly, in South Africa, "the frequent instances which occur [among the Balonda] of people changing from one part of the country to another show that the great chiefs possess only a limited power." And how, through this process, some tribes grow while others dwindle, we are shown by McCulloch's remark respecting the Kukis, that "a village, having around it plenty of land suited for cultivation and a popular chief, is sure soon, by accessions from less favored ones, to become large."
With the need which the individual has for protection is joined the desire of the tribe to strengthen itself; and the practice of adoption, hence resulting, constitutes another mode of integration. Where, as among tribes of North American Indians, "adoption or the torture were the alternative chances of a captive" (adoption being the fate of one admired for his bravery), we see reillustrated the tendency which each society has to grow at the expense of other societies. That desire for many actual children whereby the family may be strengthened, which Hebrew traditions show us, readily passes into the desire for factitious children—here made one with the brotherhood by exchange of blood, and there by mock birth. As was implied in another place, it is probable that the practice of adoption into families so prevalent in Rome arose during those early times when the wandering patriarchal group constituted the tribe, and when the desire of the tribe to strengthen itself was dominant. And, indeed, on remembering that, long after larger societies were formed by the compounding of patriarchal groups, there continued to be feuds between the component families and clans, we may see that there had never ceased to operate, on such families and clans, the primitive motive for strengthening themselves by increasing their numbers.
It may be added that kindred motives produced kindred results within more modern societies, during times when their component parts were so imperfectly integrated that there remained antagonisms among them. Thus we have the fact that in mediæval England, while local rule was incompletely subordinated to general rule, every free man had to attach himself to a lord, a burgh, or a guild: being otherwise "a friendless man," and in a danger like that which the savage is in when not belonging to a tribe. And. then, on the other hand, in the law that, "if a bondsman continued a year and a day within a free burgh or municipality, no lord could reclaim him," we may recognize an effect of the desire on the part of industrial groups to strengthen themselves against the feudal groups around—an effect analogous to the adoption, here into the savage tribe and there into the family as it existed in the ancient societies. Naturally, as a whole nation becomes more completely integrated, these local integrations become weaker, and finally disappear; though they long leave their traces, as among ourselves even still in the law of settlement, and as, up to so late a period as 1824, in the laws affecting the freedom of traveling of artisans.
These last illustrations introduce us to the truth that, while at first there are little cohesion and great mobility of the units forming a group, advance in integration is habitually accompanied not only by a decreasing ability to go from group to group, but also by a decreasing ability to go from place to place with the group: the members of the society become less free to move about within the society as well as less free to leave it. Of course, the transition from the nomadic to the settled state partially implies this; since each person becomes in a considerable degree tied by his material interests. Slavery, too, effects in another way this binding of individuals to locally-placed members of the society, and therefore to particular parts to it; and, where serfdom exists, the same thing is shown with a difference. But in societies that have become highly integrated, not simply those in bondage, but others also, ai-e tied to their localities. Of the ancient Mexicans, Zurita says: "The Indians never changed their village nor even their quarter. This custom was observed as a law." In ancient Peru, "it was not lawful for any one to remove from one province, or village, to another"; and "any who traveled without just cause were punished as vagabonds." Elsewhere, along with that development of the militant type accompanying aggregation, there have been imposed restraints on movement under other forms. In ancient Egypt there existed a system of registration, and all citizens had periodically to reportto local officers. "Every Japanese is registered, and, whenever he removes his residence, the Nanushi, or head-man of the temple, gives a certificate." And then, in despotically governed European countries, we have more or less rigorous passport-systems, hindering the movements of citizens from place to place, and in some cases preventing them from leaving the country.
In these, as in other respects, however, the restraints which the social aggregate exercises over its units decrease as the industrial type begins greatly to qualify the militant type; partly because the societies characterized by industrialism are amply populous, and have superfluous members to fill the places of those who leave them, and partly because, in the absence of the oppressions accompanying a militant régime, a sufficient cohesion results from pecuniary interests, family bonds, and love of country.
Thus, saying nothing for the present of that political evolution manifested by increase of structure, and restricting ourselves to that political evolution manifested by increase of mass, here distinguished as political integration, we find that this has the following traits:
While the aggregates are small, the incorporation of materials for growth is carried on at one another's expense in feeble ways—by taking one another's game, by robbing one another of women, and, occasionally, by adopting one another's men. As larger aggregates are formed, incorporations proceed in more wholesale ways: first, by enslaving the separate members of conquered tribes, and presently by the bodily annexation of such tribes. And, as compound aggregates pass into doubly and trebly compound ones, there arise increasing desires to absorb adjacent smaller societies, and so to form still larger aggregates.
Conditions of several kinds further or hinder social growth and consolidation. The habitat may be fitted or unfitted for supporting a large population; or it may, by great or small facilities for intercourse within its area, favor or impede coöperation; or it may, by presence or absence of natural barriers, make easy or difficult the keeping together of the individuals under that coercion which is at first needful. And, as the antecedents of the race determine, the individuals may have in greater or less degrees the physical, the emotional, and the intellectual natures fitting them for combined action.
While the extent to which social integration can in each case be carried depends in part on these conditions, it also depends in part upon the degree of likeness among the units. At first, while the nature is so little molded to social life that cohesion is small, aggregation is largely dependent on ties of blood, implying great degrees of likeness. Groups in which such ties, and the resulting congruity, are most marked, and which, having family traditions in common, a common male ancestor, and a joint worship of him, are in these further ways made alike in ideas and sentiments, are groups in which the greatest social cohesion and power of coöperation arise. For a long time the clans and tribes descending from such primitive patriarchal groups have their political concert facilitated by this bond of relationship and the likeness it involves. Only after adaptation to social life has made considerable progress does harmonious coöperation among those who are not of the same stock become practicable; and even then their unlikenesses of nature must fall within moderate limits. Where the unlikenesses of nature are great, the society, held together only by force, tends to disintegrate when the force fails.
Likeness in the units forming a social group being one condition of their integration, a further condition is their joint reaction against external action; coöperation in war is the active cause of social integration. The temporary unions of savages for offense and defense show us the initiatory step. When many tribes unite against a common enemy, long continuance of their combined action makes them coherent under some common control. And so it is subsequently with still larger aggregates.
Progress in social integration is both a cause and a consequence of a decreasing separableness among the units. Primitive wandering hordes exercise no such restraints over their members as prevent them individually from leaving one horde and joining another at will. Where tribes are more developed, desertion of one and admission into another are less easy—the assemblages are not so loose in composition. And, throughout those long stages during which societies are being enlarged and consolidated by militancy, the mobility of the units is more and more restrained. Only with that substitution of voluntary coöperation for compulsory coöperation which characterizes developing industrialism do these restraints disappear: enforced union being in such societies adequately replaced by spontaneous union.
A remaining truth to be named is that political integration, as it advances, tends to obliterate the original divisions among the united parts. In the first place, there is the slow disappearance of those nontopographical divisions arising from relationship, and resulting in separate gentes and tribes, gentile and tribal divisions, which are for a long time maintained after larger societies have been formed: gradual intermingling destroys them. In the second place, the smaller local societies united into a larger one, which at first retain their separate organizations, lose them by long coöperation: a common organization begins to ramify through them, and their individualities become indistinct. And, in the third place, there simultaneously results a more or less decided obliteration of their topographical bounds, and a replacing of these by the new administrative bound of the common organization. Hence naturally results the converse truth that, in the course of social dissolution, the great groups separate first, and afterward, if dissolution continues, these separate into their component smaller groups. Instance the ancient empires successively formed in the East, the united kingdoms of which severally resumed their autonomies when the coercion keeping them together ceased. Instance, again, the Carlovingian empire, which, first parting into its large divisions, became in course of time further disintegrated by subdivision of these. And where, as in this last case, the process of dissolution goes very far, there is a return to something like the primitive condition, under which small predatory societies are engaged in continuous warfare with like small societies around them.
- "Principles of Sociology," §§ 14-21.
- Ibid., 17.
- "Principles of Sociology," 16.
- Ibid., Part I, chapter vi.
- "Principles of Sociology," Part I, chapter vii.
- The behavior of Arab boatmen on the Nile displays this inability to coöperate in simple matters in a striking way. When jointly hauling at a rope, and beginning, as they do, to chant, the inference one draws is that they pull in time with their words. On observing, however, it turns out that their efforts are not combined at given intervals, but are put forth without any unity of rhythm. Similarly, when using their poles to push the dahabeiah off a sand-bank, the succession of grunts they severally make is so rapid that it is manifestly impossible for them to give those effectual combined pushes which imply appreciable intervals of preparation. Still more striking is the want of concert shown by the hundred or more Nubians and Arabs employed to drag the vessel up the rapids. There are shoutings, gesticulations, divided actions, utter confusion; so that only by accident does it at length happen that a sufficient number of efforts are put forth at the same moment. As was said to me by our Arab dragoman, a traveled man, "Ten Englishmen or Frenchmen would do the thing at once."
- "Principles of Sociology," § 226.
- "Principles of Sociology," § 319.