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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

INFLUENCE OF PHYSICAL AND  SOCIAL CAUSES.      527
was in some respects intolerable, and the strife of orders
fierce; yet how severe were the morals of this unlettered
community, how sacred the marriage tie, how rare divorce,*
what a spirit there was of thrift and frugality pervading the
whole society. But in later times, when the polity was more
just and equal, the morals were vastly worse.
i. One of the chief differences between different govern-
ments consists in the ease or difficulty with which individuals
can acquire wealth and change their condition in society.   As
wealth means the power of self-gratification in any way, as
well as higher social position, no motive can be more compre-
hensive.    There is a stream of adventurers from the humbler
classes, not content with the life their fathers have led, press-
ing on to fill positions in mercantile and professional life ; and
where education is diffused in.a free country, their numbers
and zeal will be so much the greater.    If, as in England,
there is a well-born and titled  class into which they can
scarcely hope to be admitted, this will be a barrier in one
direction;   but the middle class, as has been remarked, in
England, will be so much the more eager to raise themselves
by the pursuits of industry to  an elevated position in the
world.    This class there is the zone of hope, lying between
the zone of listlessness and despair, and the zone of content-
ment.
In proportion to the power of bettering their fortune by
personal endeavors will be the energy, restlessness, hopeful-
ness and discontent of those who are climbing the ladder. In.
a country like the United States this stimulus to exertion is
exceedingly strong and far diffused. Its effects are, some of
them, very good, and others very evil. It produces speci-
mens of covetousness, thorough earthliness, unreflecting pur~
suit of ends even by the rashest speculation, such as the
absorbing desire of the goods of life naturally forms. With
J   t"Vi^
this are joined the vices that grow out of cupidity, ana
* Even if we refuse to believe what D. Hal. says, ii. *5 F su^
pose, as we may, that for other causes besides barrenness <uy
was practiced before.    Comp. GelL, iv. 3, who gives his authority.