Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats


from one kind of polity within a race to another ; or that
they may travel far beyond their birthplace, as Roman law
has helped to shape the codes of a large part of Europe, and
the jury has spread beyond its original seats. It is dangerous
to pick out one cause  a physical one, for instance  and assign
to it a great share of formative power in a constitution, for pres-
ently religion, perhaps introduced from abroad, culture, arts,
and other forces will begin to set up their pretensions, and
to claim a share, if not the largest share, in national progress.
It is difficult, then, to determine the relative weight of physi-
cal and social causes, of domestic and foreign influences, of
political and social ones, which everywhere act and react on
one another ; or the power of imitation and fashion at a cer-
tain age and in a certain country. Of course our experience
and prophecies founded on it are very uncertain guides be-
yond certain narrow limits.

Without doubt  to confine ourselves now to causes of a
physical kind acting on governments and institutions  man
cannot escape altogether from the influences of the external
xvorld. ,The free in his nature and the necessary from without
must act together in forming the institutions which are the
results of his choice. Sometimes these forces concur, some-
times they act in opposite directions ; and in the latter case,


If he has energy and tenacity of purpose enough to overcome
nature, it proves to be his greatest friend ; it helps in the for-
mation of a national character hardened and ennobled by the

Let us consider some of the natural causes, and try to dis-
cover in them an influence on a polity, either to

originate or to alter it.
i. Influences of climate.  The greatest extreme of cold
prevents all marked development of the political instinct.
There are regions where man lives on the confines of death,
where his constant struggle is to fight against nature and just
maintain life. In such climates there can be little property,
and little new knowledge to stimulate to better methods of
labor. There may be family life and small societies, but the