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members of a social group has never been supported by a scintilla of historical evidence. Popularized by Jean Jacques Rousseau in Le Contrat Social (1762), this "social compact" theory had enormous influence in the days of the American Revolution and of the French Revolution, but has now fallen I before the attacks of scholars. The attractive theory that the state is developed from the expansion of the primitive family has been effectually disproved by the discovery of the fact that "the earliest social group, so far from being a small household of a single man and his wives, is a large and loosely connected group called a pack or horde, organized for matrimonial purposes on a very artificial plan, which altogether precludes the existence of a single family.” 1
The Natural Theory.—There remains what we may call the natural theory of the genesis of the state, holding that the present complex institution is the product of long slow evolution, at first unrealized and unappreciated by the people themselves, from the simplest and most rudimentary forms of group organization. Organization of a crude kind was the natural result of the need for defence as the packs became more numerous and the contest for food supplies became more bitter. This organization, it may be believed, was in the beginning only temporary; it was maintained so long as need demanded, and it was so frail that it quickly dissolved when economic pressure relaxed. It existed before the idea of a state and of a government, and may have been responsible for the birth of this idea in the minds of some of the leaders of the pack. The advantages of the crude organization forced by necessity may have suggested the continuation of such organization when the crisis had passed. In the first primitive attempts to give permanence to an organization of the pack or horde we may reasonably look for the germ of government and of state. Once this idea was born, we can readily understand how by slow degrees it won its way, first among all the leaders, and gradually among the mass of the members of the group. With its general acceptance by the mass of the group, the history of the development of the state really began.
1 Jenks, History of Politics.
In our consideration of the state and its government, however, we shall not endeavor to treat the history and development of the institution, but rather to analyze and study it as it is established in the foremost civilized countries to-day. We realize, of course, that the existing forms constitute merely one stage in the evolutionary development from the crude beginnings we have mentioned to some higher and more perfect organization of the distant future. Our purpose, however, is to acquaint the student with the characteristic features of modern forms of government of the state.
State Government and Local Government.-According as we refer to the political organization of the whole state or to the political organization of divisions of the state we may talk of state government and of various kinds of local government, as commonwealth government, provincial government, departmental government, municipal government, colonial government, etc. The state government, however, exercises the supreme power throughout the whole territory and over the whole people of a state and determines the organization of the various kinds of local government. It is, therefore, with the fundamental characteristics of the government of states that our study is chiefly concerned.
Typical Governments in Europe and America.-We may restrict our examination of governments to the governments in the states of Europe and America, for in these states may be found the most important illustrations of modern practice. In the little continent of Europe (“the peninsula of Asia," as it is often called) and in North America have originated and developed the most important experiments in political organization of modern times. Throughout Africa, in sections where the territory is not under European control, governments are those of savage or semi-savage tribes; throughout Asia, in sections where the territory is not under European control, progressive states are introducing European or American forms of political
organization. Thus any consideration of government as illustrated in the states of Europe and America will give results applicable to the governments in all the civilized states of the world.
II. PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT Purpose of Government.—The fundamental purpose for which the organization of political control known as government exists is (1) to maintain peace and order for the promotion of the general welfare within the state, and (2) to insure the safety of the state from external aggression.
It is essential that citizens of the state shall be allowed to live in conditions of peace and order, that they shall be protected in their legitimate undertakings from the consequences of disturbances incited by a portion of the public or from encroachments upon their rights by other individuals. Hence it is a primary duty of government to use its powers to suppress revolts, insurrections, or other forms of public disturbance, and to safeguard for the individual the security of civil rights, contracts, and the like. Only in a state where the public peace and order are strictly conserved, and individual rights guarded, can the people at large advance in material prosperity and general welfare.
It is essential, further, that the government insure the safety of the state from any aggression from another state. It is probable that this reason for the existence of government has its roots far back in the history of social institutions. The necessity for the protection of a community from the aggressions of neighboring tribes may have been one of the primary reasons for the development of political organization in very early times. This necessity still persists in the modern world. The greed of modern states for more territory and for superior advantages brings continual rivalry and sometimes war. The whole vast structure of international law, international diplomacy, and the like, exists for the better adjustment of the rival ambitions of various states. Every government recognizes that
it is a primary duty to maintain and perpetuate its own existence and the integrity of its territories, and to keep itself in constant readiness to repel, by force if necessary, any attempt on the part of neighboring states to terminate that existence or to diminish those territories.
In modern times, some political thinkers have added to these purposes a general purpose for the mental, spiritual, and moral uplift of the world. All governments are supposed to share this general purpose in common and to coöperate when opportunities arise to further such a desirable end. The best proof, however, that the primary and fundamental purpose of a government's existence is as outlined above is the readiness of any government to cast aside all considerations of world uplift if it considers its internal peace and order, or its existence or territories, threatened.
III. CLASSIFICATION OF FORMS OF GOVERNMENT Classification of Governments.-For convenience of treatment we may group modern types of government in certain general classes. Since governmental organization in a modern state is so complex that endless variety in detail exists, these classes must necessarily be very broad. They have a value, however, in allowing us to group the states according to certain fundamental and typical characteristics.
The most natural classification is the popular division of governments into monarchies and republics, the principle of selection being the method by which the executive head of the state is selected. According to this idea, any government whose executive head is an hereditary ruler is a monarchy, and any government whose executive head is an elected official chosen for a stipulated period is a republic. Thus England and Italy might be grouped as monarchies, and France and the United States as republics.
But unfortunately this method of classification is worthless for our purposes. Even the man who thus groups the governments realizes that there is a vast difference between the
nature of the English system and the Italian system, between the French system and the United States system. We must look for other bases of classification, bases which will reveal more truly the essential characteristics of the governments, which will differentiate the systems by reference to their nature and spirit, to their form or structure, and to their operation. We want a classification that will tell us at a glance whether a government is liberal or not, whether a government is organized according to the ancient monarchical forms or not, whether a government centralizes or distributes its powers. No single method of classification has been devised to include these various points, so that we must classify and reclassify the governments until we obtain a general notion of their characteristics.
With this consideration in mind, we may try first to group governments as (1) autocratic, (2) aristocratic, or (3) democratic, according as the system provides for control by one person, by a limited class or group of persons, or by the mass of persons in the state. Such a grouping is significant of the essential nature of the government, but a little thought will show that it reveals little of governmental structure or operation.
Again, we may group governments as (1) hereditary or (2) elective, according as the system provides for an executive head by any of the various forms of inheritance or by any of the various forms of election. Such a grouping complies with our second requirement in that it reveals a prominent characteristic of the form or structure of the government, but we realize that it gives little indication of government's essential nature or practical operation. It is, therefore, unsatisfactory for our purposes when standing alone.
Yet again, we may group governments as (1) unitary or (2) federal, according to the way the system provides for the centralization of governmental powers in a single organization, or for the distribution of these powers between the central and local organizations in the state. Such a grouping emphasizes