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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

CHAPTER XIII.
INFLUENCE OF PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL CAUSES ON POLITIES,
AND OF POLITIES  ON THE PEOPLE.
§265.
The ancient political writers were wont to speculate on the
influence of phys- power which physical causes exerted in shaping
ical causes on pol-                                                                   «
ities.                   or changing the forms of government.    If, for
instance, a newly settled town or colony lay on a noble har-
bor with productive lands behind, a Greek would be apt to
think that sooner or later the place would have a democratical
government, on account of the influence of the commercial
class. On the other hand, an interior town might be kept
from the predominance of a democracy, and this would be a
motive for planting a new colony in such a position. The
various influences from external nature they were well able to
estimate, and those from race they were disposed to estimate
too highly, for they set themselves with their-free institutions,
arts and letters over against the barbarians, who were fit only
to be slaves, forgetting that ages of cultivation might have
raised Cappadocians or Scythians more nearly up to their
level, and rendered them fit to be freemen.
Among modern writers, Montesquieu was the first to show
on an extensive scale what the spirit and character of laws
and institutions are, as exposed to various influences, and what
the qualities are which different forms of polity cherish. As
drawing attention to the historical side of politics, the " Spirit
of the Laws " marks an era, but the deductions—where causes
so complex and belonging to ages so unlike one another as
those which give shape to polities—are often very questionable.
Thus, it may happen that laws and institutions may pass over