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596                             POLITICAL SCIENCE.
demonstrate, there must be destructive influences at work in
every nation, which are apt to get the better of the conserva-
tive influences sooner or later, Every form of civilization
contains some worm in the bud, every nation suffers for its own
misdeeds ; it is, in short, the weakness and short-sightedness
of human nature acting on a large scale, to which national
decay is due.
Without denying the justice of these remarks, we will en-
quire what are the leading causes likely to bring on national
decay, and whether a nation can have a hope of reform, when
once its course is thus doxvnward.
I. The cause from which evil is more commonly appre-
s which are hcnded is the increasingly unequal distribution
hon." ""* of property in a country, as it continues its in-
Unequai aistribu- clustry through ages.    There will be a few very
tioa of property.      rich persons and a vast muititude of very poor,
with a middle class more or less numerous, according to the
varying success of their labors.    The rich, for want of other
investments, will monopolize the land,   receiving it in pay-
ment of debts, or being content with a small interest on their
money.    The proletarian class must live from hand to mouth,
without much intelligence, exposed to great temptations, be-
coming weak in body and in mind through the influence of
unhealthy food and lodgings, a prey to diseases, a prey to
demagogues.    The unity of society is destroyed by this un-
equal distribution of wealth ; one part, the upper class, can
have no great intercourse or sympathy with their antipodes,
and thus there is no political security.    Hope must abandon
such a society and vigor of action ; how can it live when these
are gone ?   The freedom of a government has little influence
in checking these evils.    It makes the successful more suc-
cessful, because he can go anywhere and devote his capital
to any use.    It rather brings on inequalities sooner than an-
other sort of government.    L. Marcius Philippus affirmed, in a
public speech at Rome, that there were not two thousand
property-owners in the state; (Cic., de off,, ii., 21, 73)> an(*
Pliny the elder  says  that " broad farms (latifundid) have