The State and the Ruling Class: An Anthology of Key Works of Libertarian/Classical Liberal Class Analysis

Compiled by David M. Hart
Table of Contents of the Anthology: <>

[Created: 16 August, 2016]
[Updated: 7 January, 2017 ]


Herbert Spencer, Chap. IV. “Political Differentiation” (1882)

Editing History

  • Item added: 17 Sept. 2016
  • 1st Edit:


Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Sociology, in Three Volumes (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1898). Vol. 2.

  • Part V. “Political Institutions” in The Principles of Sociology, vol. 2 (1882)
  • Chap. IV. “Political Differentiation” - how states originally form <>
  • Chap. XVII. “The Militant Type of Society” - industrial vs. militant societies
  • Chap. XVIII. “The Industrial Type of Society”

Editor's Intro




§ 454. As was pointed out in First Principles, §154, it is true of a social aggregate, as of every other aggregate, that the state of homogeneity is an unstable state; and that where there is already some heterogeneity, the tendency is towards greater heterogeneity.

Lapse from homogeneity, however, or rather, the increase of such heterogeneity as usually exists, requires that the parts shall be heterogeneously conditioned; and whatever prevents the rise of contrasts among the conditions, prevents increase of heterogeneity. One of the implications is that there must not be continual changes in the distribution of the parts. If now one part and now another, occupies the same position in relation to the whole, permanent structural differences cannot be produced. There must be such cohesion among the parts as prevents easy transposition.

We see this truth exemplified in the simplest individual organisms. A low Rhizopod, of which the substance has a mobility approaching to that of a liquid, remains almost homogeneous; because each part is from moment to moment assuming new relations to other parts and to the environment. And the like holds with the simplest societies. Concerning the members of the small unsettled groups of Fuegians, Cook remarks that “none was more respected than another.” The Veddahs, the Andamanese, the Australians, the Tasmanians, may also be instanced as loose assemblages which present no permanent unlikenesses of social position; or if unlikeness exist, as some travellers allege, they are so vague that they are denied by others. And in such wandering hordes as the Coroados of South America, formed of individuals held together so feebly that they severally join one or other horde at will, the distinctions of parts are but nominal.

Conversely, it is to be anticipated that where the several parts of a social aggregate are heterogeneously conditioned in a permanent way, they will become proportionately heterogeneous. We shall see this more clearly on changing the point of view.

§ 455. The general law that like units exposed to like forces tend to integrate, was in the last chapter exemplified by the formation of social groups. Here the correlative general law, that in proportion as the like units of an aggregate are exposed to unlike forces they tend to form differentiated parts of the aggregate, has to be observed in its application to such groups, as the second step in social evolution.

The primary political differentiation originates from the primary family differentiation. Men and women being by the unlikenesses of their functions in life, exposed to unlike influences, begin from the first to assume unlike positions in the community as they do in the family: very early they respectively form the two political classes of rulers and ruled. And how truly such dissimilarity of social positions as arises between them, is caused by dissimilarity in their relations to surrounding actions, we shall see on observing that the one is small or great according as the other is small or great. When treating of the status of women, it was pointed out that to a considerable degree among the Chippewayans, and to a still greater degree among the Clatsops and Chinooks, “who live upon fish and roots, which the women are equally expert with the men in procuring, the former have a rank and influence very rarely found among Indians.” We saw also that in Cueba, where the women join the men in war, “fighting by their side,” their position is much higher than usual among rude peoples; and, similarly, that in Dahomey, where the women are as much warriors as the men, they are so regarded that, in the political organization, “the woman is officially superior.” On contrasting these exceptional cases with the ordinary cases, in which the men, solely occupied in war and the chase, have unlimited authority, while the women, occupied in gathering miscellaneous small food, and carrying burdens, are abject slaves, it becomes clear that diversity of relations to surrounding actions initiates diversity of social relations. And, as we saw in § 327, this truth is further illustrated by those few uncivilized societies which are habitually peaceful, such as the Bodo and the Dhimáls of the Indian hills, and the ancient Pueblos of North America—societies in which the occupations are not, or were not, broadly divided into fighting and working, and severally assigned to the two sexes; and in which, along with a comparatively small difference between the activities of the sexes, there goes, or went, small difference of social status.

So is it when we pass from the greater or less political differentiation which accompanies difference of sex, to that which is independent of sex—to that which arises among men. Where the life is permanently peaceful, definite class-divisions do not exist. One of the Indian Hill-tribes to which I have already referred as exhibiting the honesty, truthfulness, and amiability, accompanying a purely industrial life, may be instanced. Hodgson says, “all Bodo and all Dhimáls are equal—absolutely so in right or law—wonderfully so in fact.” The like is said of another unwarlike and amiable hill tribe: “the Lepchas have no caste distinctions.” And among a different race, the Papuans, may be named the peaceful Arafuras as displaying “brotherly love with one another,” and as having no divisions of rank.

§ 456. As, at first, the domestic relation between the sexes passes into a political relation, such that men and women become, in militant groups, the ruling class and the subject class; so does the relation between master and slave, originally a domestic one, pass into a political one as fast as, by habitual war, the making of slaves becomes general. It is with the formation of a slave-class, that there begins that political differentiation between the regulating structures and the sustaining structures, which continues throughout all higher forms of social evolution.

Kane remarks that “slavery in its most cruel form exists among the Indians of the whole coast from California to Behring’s Straits, the stronger tribes making slaves of all the others they can conquer. In the interior, where there is but little warfare, slavery does not exist.” And this statement does but exhibit, in a distinct form, the truth everywhere obvious. Evidence suggests that the practice of enslavement diverged by small steps from the practice of cannibalism. Concerning the Nootkas, we read that “slaves are occasionally sacrificed and feasted upon;” and if we contrast this usage with the usage common elsewhere, of killing and devouring captives as soon as they are taken, we may infer that the keeping of captives too numerous to be immediately eaten, with the view of eating them subsequently, leading, as it would, to the employment of them in the meantime, caused the discovery that their services might be of more value than their flesh, and so initiated the habit of preserving them as slaves. Be this as it may, however, we find that very generally among tribes to which habitual militancy has given some slight degree of the appropriate structure, the enslavement of prisoners becomes an established habit. That women and children taken in war, and such men as have not been slain, naturally fall into unqualified servitude, is manifest. They belong absolutely to their captors, who might have killed them, and who retain the right afterwards to kill them if they please. They become property, of which any use whatever may be made.

The acquirement of slaves, which is at first an incident of war, becomes presently an object of war. Of the Nootkas we read that “some of the smaller tribes at the north of the island are practically regarded as slave-breeding tribes, and are attacked periodically by stronger tribes;” and the like happens among the Chinooks. It was thus in ancient Vera Paz, where periodically they made “an inroad into the enemy’s territory . . . and captured as many as they wanted;” and it was so in Honduras, where, in declaring war, they gave their enemies notice “that they wanted slaves.” Similarly with various existing peoples. St. John says that “many of the Dyaks are more desirous to obtain slaves than heads; and in attacking a village kill only those who resist or attempt to escape.” And that in Africa slave-making wars are common needs no proof.

The class-division thus initiated by war, afterwards maintains and strengthens itself in sundry ways. Very soon there begins the custom of purchase. The Chinooks, besides slaves who have been captured, have slaves who were bought as children from their neighbours; and, as we saw when dealing with the domestic relations, the selling of their children into slavery is by no means uncommon with savages. Then the slave-class, thus early enlarged by purchase, comes afterwards to be otherwise enlarged. There is voluntary acceptance of slavery for the sake of protection; there is enslavement for debt; there is enslavement for crime.

Leaving details, we need here note only that this political differentiation which war begins, is effected, not by the bodily incorporation of other societies, or whole classes belonging to other societies, but by the incorporation of single members of other societies, and by like individual accretions. Composed of units who are detached from their original social relations and from one another, and absolutely attached to their owners, the slave-class is, at first, but indistinctly separated as a social stratum. It acquires separateness only as fast as there arise some restrictions on the powers of the owners. Ceasing to stand in the position of domestic cattle, slaves begin to form a division of the body politic when their personal claims begin to be distinguished as limiting the claims of their masters.

§ 457. It is commonly supposed that serfdom arises by mitigation of slavery; but examination of the facts shows that it arises in a different way. While, during the early struggles for existence between them, primitive tribes, growing at one another’s expense by incorporating separately the individuals they capture, thus form a class of absolute slaves, the formation of a servile class considerably higher, and having a distinct social status, accompanies that later and larger process of growth under which one society incorporates other societies bodily. Serfdom originates along with conquest and annexation.

For whereas the one implies that the captured people are detached from their homes, the other implies that the subjugated people continue in their homes. Thomson remarks that, “among the New Zealanders whole tribes sometimes became nominally slaves when conquered, although permitted to live at their usual places of residence, on condition of paying tribute, in food, &c.”—a statement which shows the origin of kindred arrangements in allied societies. Of the Sandwich Islands government when first known, described as consisting of a king with turbulent chiefs, who had been subjected in comparatively recent times, Ellis writes:—“The common people are generally considered as attached to the soil, and are transferred with the land from one chief to another.” Before the late changes in Fiji, there were enslaved districts; and of their inhabitants we read that they had to supply the chief’s houses “with daily food, and build and keep them in repair.” Though conquered peoples thus placed, differ widely in the degrees of their subjection (being at the one extreme, as in Fiji, liable to be eaten when wanted, and at the other extreme called on only to give specified proportions of produce or labour); yet they remain alike as being undetached from their original places of residence. That serfdom in Europe originated in an analogous way, there is good reason to believe. In Greece we have the case of Crete, where, under the conquering Dorians, there existed a vassal population, formed, it would seem, partly of the aborigines and partly of preceding conquerors; of which the first were serfs attached to lands of the State and of individuals, and the others had become tributary landowners. In Sparta the like relations were established by like causes. There were the helots, who lived on, and cultivated, the lands of their Spartan masters, and the periœci, who had probably been, before the Dorian invasion, the superior class. So was it also in the Greek colonies afterwards founded, such as Syracuse, where the aborigines became serfs. Similarly in later times and nearer regions. When Gaul was overrun by the Romans, and again when Romanized Gaul was overrun by the Franks, there was little displacement of the actual cultivators of the soil, but these simply fell into lower positions: certainly lower political positions, and M. Guizot thinks lower industrial positions. Our own country yields illustrations.

“Among the Scottish Highlanders some entire septs or clans are stated to have been enslaved to others; and on the very threshold of Irish history we meet with a distinction between free and rent-paying tribes, which may possibly imply the same kind of superiority and subordination.”

In ancient British times, writes Pearson, “it is probable that, in parts at least, there were servile villages, occupied by a kindred but conquered race, the first occupants of the soil.” More trustworthy is the evidence which comes to us from old English days and Norman days. Professor Stubbs says—

“The ceorl had his right in the common land of his township; his Latin name, villanus, had been a symbol of freedom, but his privileges were bound to the land, and when the Norman lord took the land he took the villein with it. Still the villein retained his customary rights, his house and land and rights of wood and hay; his lord’s demesne depended for cultivation on his services, and he had in his lord’s sense of self-interest the sort of protection that was shared by the horse and the ox.”

And of kindred import is the following passage from Innes:—

“I have said that of the inhabitants of the Grange, the lowest in the scale was the ceorl, bond, serf, or villein, who was transferred like the land on which he laboured, and who might be caught and brought back if he attempted to escape, like a stray ox or sheep. Their legal name of nativus, or neyf, which I have not found but in Britain, seems to point to their origin in the native race, the original possessors of the soil. . . . In the register of Dunfermline are numerous ‘genealogies,’ or stud-books, for enabling the lord to trace and reclaim his stock of serfs by descent. It is observable that most of them are of Celtic names.”

Clearly, a subjugated territory, useless without cultivators, was left in the hands of the original cultivators, because nothing was to be gained by putting others in their places; even could an adequate number of others be had. Hence, while it became the conqueror’s interest to tie each original cultivator to the soil, it also became his interest to let him have such an amount of produce as to maintain him and enable him to rear offspring, and it further became his interest to protect him against injuries which would incapacitate him for work.

To show how fundamental is the distinction between bondage of the primitive type and the bondage of serfdom, it needs but to add that while the one can, and does, exist among savages and pastoral tribes, the other becomes possible only after the agricultural stage is reached; for only then can there occur the bodily annexation of one society by another, and only then can there be any tying to the soil.

§ 458. Associated men who live by hunting, and to whom the area occupied is of value only as a habitat for game, cannot well have anything more than a common participation in the use of this occupied area: such ownership of it as they have, must be joint ownership. Naturally, then, at the outset all the adult males, who are at once hunters and warriors, are the common possessors of the undivided land, encroachment on which by other tribes they resist. Though, in the earlier pastoral state, especially where the barrenness of the region involves wide dispersion, there is no definite proprietorship of the tract wandered over; yet, as is shown us in the strife between the herdsmen of Abraham and those of Lot respecting feeding grounds, some claims to exclusive use tend to arise; and at a later half-pastoral stage, as among the ancient Germans, the wanderings of each division fall within prescribed limits.

I refer to these facts by way of showing the identity established at the outset between the militant class and the land-owning class. For whether the group is one which lives by hunting or one which lives by feeding cattle, any slaves its members possess are excluded from land-ownership: the freemen, who are all fighting men, become, as a matter of course, the proprietors of their territory. This connexion in variously modified forms, long continues; and could scarcely do otherwise. Land being, in early settled communities, the almost exclusive source of wealth, it happens inevitably that during times in which the principle that might is right remains unqualified, personal power and ownership of the soil go together. Hence the fact that where, instead of being held by the whole society, land comes to be parcelled out among component village-communities, or among families, or among individuals, possession of it habitually goes along with the bearing of arms. In ancient Egypt “every soldier was a land-owner”—“had an allotment of land of about six acres.” In Greece the invading Hellenes, wresting the country from its original holders, joined military service with territorial endowment. In Rome, too, “every freeholder from the seventeenth to the sixtieth year of his age, was under obligation of service . . . so that even the emancipated slave had to serve who, in an exceptional case, had come into possession of landed property.” The like happened in the early Teutonic community. Joined with professional warriors, its army included “the mass of freemen arranged in families fighting for their homesteads and hearths:” such freemen, or markmen, owning land partly in common and partly as individual proprietors. Or as is said of this same arrangement among the ancient English, “their occupation of the land as cognationes resulted from their enrolment in the field, where each kindred was drawn up under an officer of its own lineage and appointment;” and so close was this dependence that “a thane forfeited his hereditary freehold by misconduct in battle.”

Beyond the original connexion between militancy and land-owning, which naturally arises from the joint interest which those who own the land and occupy it, either individually or collectively, have in resisting aggressors, there arises later a further connexion. As, along with successful militancy, there progresses a social evolution which gives to a dominant ruler increased power, it becomes his custom to reward his leading soldiers by grants of land. Early Egyptian kings “bestowed on distinguished military officers” portions of the crown domains. When the barbarians were enrolled as Roman soldiers, “they were paid also by assignments of land, according to a custom which prevailed in the Imperial armies. The possession of these lands was given to them on condition of the son becoming a soldier like his father.” And that kindred usages were general throughout the feudal period, is a familiar truth: feudal tenancy being, indeed, thus constituted; and inability to bear arms being a reason for excluding women from succession. To exemplify the nature of the relation established, it will suffice to name the fact that “William the Conqueror . . . distributed this kingdom into about 60,000 parcels, of nearly equal value [partly left in the hands of those who previously held it, and partly made over to his followers as either owners or suzerains], from each of which the service of a soldier was due;” and the further fact that one of his laws requires all owners of land to “swear that they become vassals or tenants,” and will “defend their lord’s territories and title as well as his person” by “knight-service on horseback.”

That this original relation between landowning and militancy long survived, we are shown by the armorial bearings of county families, as well as by the portraits of family ancestors, who are mostly represented in military costume.

§ 459. Setting out with the class of warriors, or men bearing arms, who in primitive communities are owners of the land, collectively or individually, or partly one and partly the other, there arises the question—How does this class differentiate into nobles and freemen?

The most general reply is, of course, that since the state of homogeneity is by necessity unstable, time inevitably brings about inequalities of positions among those whose positions were at first equal. Before the semi-civilized state is reached, the differentiation cannot become decided; because there can be no larger accumulations of wealth, and because the laws of descent do not favour maintenance of such accumulations as are possible. But in the pastoral, and still more in the agricultural, community, especially where descent through males has been established, several causes of differentiation come into play. There is, first, unlikeness of kinship to the head man. Obviously, in course of generations, the younger descendants of the younger become more and more remotely related to the eldest descendant of the eldest; and social inferiority arises. As the obligation to execute blood-revenge for a murdered member of the family does not extend beyond a certain degree of relationship (in ancient France not beyond the seventh), so neither does the accompanying distinction. From the same cause comes inferiority in point of possessions. Inheritance by the eldest male from generation to generation, works the effect that those who are the most distantly connected in blood with the head of the group, are also the poorest. Then there cooperates with these factors a consequent factor; namely, the extra power which greater wealth gives. For when there arises disputes within the tribe, the richer are those who, by their better appliances for defence and their greater ability to purchase aid, naturally have the advantage over the poorer. Proof that this is a potent cause is found in a fact named by Sir Henry Maine. “The founders of a part of our modern European aristocracy, the Danish, are known to have been originally peasants who fortified their houses during deadly village struggles and then used their advantage.” Such superiorities of position, once initiated, are increased in another way. Already in the last chapter we have seen that communities are to a certain extent increased by the addition of fugitives from other communities—sometimes criminals, sometimes those who are oppressed. While, in places where such fugitives belong to races of superior types, they often become rulers (as among many Indian hill-tribes, whose rajahs are of Hindoo extraction), in places where they are of the same race and cannot do this, they attach themselves to those of chief power in their adopted tribe. Sometimes they yield up their freedom for the sake of protection: a man makes himself a slave by breaking a spear in the presence of his wished-for master, as among the East Africans, or by inflicting some small bodily injury upon him, as among the Fulahs. In ancient Rome the semi-slave class distinguished as clients, originated by this voluntary acceptance of servitude with safety. But where his aid promises to be of value in war, the fugitive offers himself as a warrior in exchange for maintenance and refuge. Other things equal, he chooses for master some one marked by superiority of power and property; and thus enables the man already dominant to become more dominant. Such armed dependents, having as aliens no claims to the lands of the group, and bound to its head only by fealty, answer in position to the comites as found in the early German communities, and as exemplified in old English times by the “Huscarlas” (Housecarls), with whom nobles surrounded themselves. Evidently, too, followers of this kind, having certain interests in common with their protector and no interests in common with the rest of the community, become, in his hands, the means of usurping communal rights and elevating himself while depressing the rest.

Step by step the contrast strengthens. Beyond such as have voluntarily made themselves slaves to a head man, others have become enslaved by capture in the wars meanwhile going on, others by staking themselves in gaming, others by purchase, others by crime, others by debt. And of necessity the possession of many slaves, habitually accompanying wealth and power, tends further to increase that wealth and power, and to mark off still more the higher rank from the lower.

And then, finally, the inferior freeman finds himself so much at the mercy of the superior freeman, or noble, and his armed followers of alien origin, that it becomes needful for safety’s sake to be also a follower; and, at first voluntary, the relation of dependence grows more and more compulsory. “The freeman might choose his Lord, he might determine to whom, in technical phrase, he should commend himself; but a Lord he must have, a Lord to act at once as his protector and as his surety.”

§ 460. Certain concomitant influences generate differences of nature, physical and mental, between those members of a community who have attained superior positions, and those who have remained inferior. Unlikenesses of status once initiated, lead to unlikenesses of life, which, by the constitutional changes they work, presently make the unlikenesses of status more difficult to alter.

First there comes difference of diet and its effects. In the habit, common among primitive tribes, of letting the women subsist on the leavings of the men, and in the accompanying habit of denying to the younger men certain choice viands which the older men eat, we see exemplified the inevitable proclivity of the strong to feed themselves at the expense of the weak; and when there arise class-divisions, there habitually results better nutrition of the superior than of the inferior. Forster remarks that in the Society Islands the lower classes often suffer from a scarcity of food which never extends to the upper classes. In the Sandwich Islands the flesh of such animals as they have, is eaten principally by the chiefs. Of cannibalism among the Fijians, Seeman says—“the common people throughout the group, as well as women of all classes, were by custom debarred from it.” These instances sufficiently indicate the contrast that everywhere arises between the diets of the ruling few and of the subject many. Naturally by such differences in diet, and accompanying differences in clothing, shelter, and strain on the energies, are eventually produced physical differences. Of the Fijians we read that “the chiefs are tall, well made, and muscular; while the lower orders manifest the meagreness arising from laborious service and scanty nourishment.” The chiefs among the Sandwich Islanders “are tall and stout, and their personal appearance is so much superior to that of the common people, that some have imagined them a distinct race.” Ellis, verifying Cook, says of the Tahitians, that the chiefs are, “almost without exception, as much superior to the peasantry . . . in physical strength as they are in rank and circumstances;” and Erskine notes a parallel contrast among the Tongans. That the like holds of the African races may be inferred from Reade’s remark that—

“The court lady is tall and elegant; her skin smooth and transparent; her beauty has stamina and longevity. The girl of the middle classes, so frequently pretty, is very often short and coarse, and soon becomes a matron; while, if you descend to the lower classes, you will find good looks rare, and the figure angular, stunted, sometimes almost deformed.”*

Simultaneously there arise between rulers and ruled, unlikenesses of bodily activity and skill. Occupied, as those of higher rank commonly are, in the chase when not occupied in war, they have a life-long discipline of a kind conducive to various physical superiorities; while, contrariwise, those occupied in agriculture, in carrying burdens, and in other drudgeries, partially lose what agility and address they naturally had. Class-predominance is thus further facilitated.

And then there are the respective mental traits produced by daily exercise of power and by daily submission to power. The ideas, and sentiments, and modes of behaviour, perpetually repeated, generate on the one side an inherited fitness for command, and on the other side an inherited fitness for obedience; with the result that, in course of time, there arises on both sides the belief that the established relations of classes are the natural ones.

§ 461. By implying habitual war among settled societies, the foregoing interpretations have implied the formation of compound societies. Such class-divisions as have been described, are therefore usually complicated by further class-divisions arising from the relations established between those conquerors and conquered whose respective groups already contain class-divisions.

This increasing differentiation which accompanies increasing integration, is clearly seen in such semi-civilized societies as that of the Sandwich Islanders. Their ranks are—

“1. King, queens, and royal family, along with the councillor or chief minister of the king. 2. The governors of the different islands, and the chiefs of several large divisions. Many of these are descendants of those who were kings of the respective islands in Cook’s time, and until subdued by T-amehameha. 3. Chiefs of districts or villages, who pay a regular rent for the land, cultivating it by means of their dependants, or letting it out to tenants. This rank includes also the ancient priests. 4. The labouring classes—those renting small portions of land, those working on the land for food and clothing, mechanics, musicians, and dancers.”

And, as shown elsewhere, these labouring classes are otherwise divisible into—artizans, who are paid wages; serfs, attached to the soil; and slaves. Inspection makes it tolerably clear that the lowest chiefs, once independent, were reduced to the second rank when adjacent chiefs conquered them and became local kings; and that they were reduced to the third rank at the same time that these local kings became chiefs of the second rank, when, by conquest, a kingship of the whole group was established. Other societies in kindred stages show us kindred divisions, similarly to be accounted for. Among the New Zealanders there are six grades; there are six among the Ashantees; there are five among the Abyssinians; and other more or less compounded African States present analogous divisions. Perhaps ancient Peru furnishes as clear a case as any of the superposition of ranks resulting from subjugation. The petty kingdoms which were massed together by the conquering Yncas, were severally left with the rulers and their subordinates undisturbed; but over the whole empire there was a superior organization of Ynca rulers of various grades. That kindred causes produced kindred effects in early Egyptian times, is inferable from traditions and remains which tell us both of local struggles which ended in consolidation, and of conquests by invading races; whence would naturally result the numerous divisions and sub-divisions which Egyptian society presented: an inference justified by the fact that under Roman dominion, there was a re-complication caused by the superposing of Roman governing agencies upon native governing agencies. Passing over other ancient instances, and coming to the familiar case of our own country, we may note how, from the followers of the conquering Normans, there arose the two ranks of the greater and lesser barons, holding their land directly from the king, while the old English thanes were reduced to the rank of sub-feudatories. Of course where perpetual wars produce, first, small aggregations, and then larger ones, and then dissolutions, and then reaggregations, and then unions of them, various in their extents, as happened in mediæval Europe, there result very numerous divisions. In the Merovingian kingdoms there were slaves having seven different origins; there were serfs of more than one grade; there were freedmen—men who, though emancipated, did not rank with the fully free; and there were two other classes less than free—the liten and the coloni. Of the free there were three classes—independent landowners; freemen in relations of dependence with other freemen, of whom there were two kinds; and freemen in special relations with the king, of whom there were three kinds.

And here, while observing in these various cases how greater political differentiation is made possible by greater political integration, we may also observe that in early stages, while social cohesion is small, greater political integration is made possible by greater political differentiation. For the larger the mass to be held together, while incoherent, the more numerous must be the agents standing in successive degrees of subordination to hold it together.

§ 462. The political differentiations which militancy originates, and which for a long time increase in definiteness, so that mixture of ranks by marriage is made a crime, are at later stages, and under other conditions, interfered with, traversed, and partially or wholly destroyed.

Where, for ages and in varying degrees, war has been producing aggregations and dissolutions, the continual breaking up and re-forming of social bonds, obscures the original divisions established in the ways described: instance the state of things in the Merovingian kingdoms just named. And where, instead of conquests by kindred adjacent societies, which in large measure leave standing the social positions and properties of the subjugated, there are conquests by alien races carried on more barbarously, the original grades may be practically obliterated, and, in place of them, there may come grades established entirely by appointment of the despotic conqueror. In parts of the East, where such over-runnings of race by race have been going on from the earliest recorded times, we see this state of things substantially realized. There is little or nothing of hereditary rank; and the only rank recognized is that of official position. Besides the different grades of appointed state-functionaries, there are no class-distinctions having political meanings.

A tendency to subordination of the original ranks, and a substitution of new ranks, is otherwise caused: it accompanies the progress of political consolidation. The change which occurred in China illustrates this effect. Gutzlaff says—

“Mere title was afterwards (on the decay of the feudal system) the reward bestowed by the sovereign. . . . and the haughty and powerful grandees of other countries are here the dependent and penurious servants of the Crown. . . . The revolutionary principle of levelling all classes has been carried, in China, to a very great extent. . . . This is introduced for the benefit of the sovereign, to render his authority supreme.”

The causes of such changes are not difficult to see. In the first place the subjugated local rulers, losing, as integration advances, more and more of their power, lose, consequently, more and more of their actual, if not of their nominal, rank: passing from the condition of tributary rulers to the condition of subjects. Indeed, jealousy on the part of the monarch sometimes prompts positive exclusion of them from influential positions; as in France, where “Louis XIV. systematically excluded the nobility from ministerial functions.” Presently their distinction is further diminished by the rise of competing ranks created by State-authority. Instead of the titles inherited by the land-possessing military chiefs, which were descriptive of their attributes and positions, there come to be titles conferred by the sovereign. Certain of the classes thus established are still of military origin; as the knights made on the battle-field, sometimes in large numbers before battle, as at Agincourt, when 500 were thus created, and sometimes afterwards in reward for valour. Others of them arise from the exercise of political functions of different grades; as in France, where, in the seventeenth century, hereditary nobility was conferred on officers of the great council and officers of the chamber of accounts. The administration of law, too, originates titles of honour. In France, in 1607, nobility was granted to doctors, regents, and professors of law; and “the superior courts obtained, in 1644, the privileges of nobility of the first degree.” So that, as Warnkœnig remarks, “the original conception of nobility was in the course of time so much widened that its primitive relation to the possession of a fief is no longer recognizable, and the whole institution seems changed.” These, with kindred instances which our own country and other European countries furnish, show us both how the original class-divisions become blurred, and how the new class-divisions are distinguished by being delocalized. They are strata which run through the integrated society, having, many of them, no reference to the land and no more connexion with one place than with another. It is true that of the titles artificially conferred, the higher are habitually derived from the names of districts and towns: so simulating, but only simulating, the ancient feudal titles expressive of actual lordship over territories. The other modern titles, however, which have arisen with the growth of political, judicial, and other functions, have not even nominal references to localities. This change naturally accompanies the growing integration of the parts into a whole, and the rise of an organization of the whole which disregards the divisions among the parts.

More effective still in weakening those primitive political divisions initiated by militancy, is increasing industrialism. This acts in two ways—firstly, by creating a class having power derived otherwise than from territorial possessions or official positions; and, secondly, by generating ideas and sentiments at variance with the ancient assumptions of class-superiority. As we have already seen, rank and wealth are at the outset habitually associated. Existing uncivilized peoples still show us this relation. The chief of a kraal among the Koranna Hottentots is “usually the person of greatest property.” In the Bechuana language “the word kosi . . . has a double acceptation, denoting either a chief or a rich man.” Such small authority as a Chinook chief has, “rests on riches, which consists in wives, children, slaves, boats, and shells.” Rude European peoples, like the Albanians, yield kindred facts: the heads of their communes “sont en general les gens les plus riches.” Indeed it is manifest that before the development of commerce, and while possession of land could alone give largeness of means, lordship and riches were directly connected; so that, as Sir Henry Maine remarks, “the opposition commonly set up between birth and wealth, and particularly wealth other than landed property, is entirely modern.” When, however, with the arrival of industry at that stage in which wholesale transactions bring large profits, there arise traders who vie with, and exceed, many of the landed nobility in wealth; and when by conferring obligations on kings and nobles, such traders gain social influence; there comes an occasional removal of the barrier between them and the titled classes. In France the process began as early as 1271, when there were issued letters ennobling Raoul the goldsmith—“the first letters conferring nobility in existence” in France. The precedent once established is followed with increasing frequency; and sometimes, under pressure of financial needs, there grows up the practice of selling titles, in disguised ways or openly. In France, in 1702, the king ennobled 200 persons at 3,000 livres a-head; in 1706, 500 persons at 6,000 livres a-head. And then the breaking down of the ancient political divisions thus caused, is furthered by that weakening of them consequent on the growing spirit of equality fostered by industrial life. In proportion as men are habituated to maintain their own claims while respecting the claims of others, which they do in every act of exchange, whether of goods for money or of services for pay, there is produced a mental attitude at variance with that which accompanies subjection; and, as fast as this happens, such political distinctions as imply subjection, lose more and more of that respect which gives them strength.

§ 463. Class-distinctions, then, date back to the beginnings of social life. Omitting these small wandering assemblages which are so incoherent that their component parts are ever changing their relations to one another and to the environment, we see that wherever there is some coherence and some permanence of relation among the parts, there begin to arise political divisions. Relative superiority of power, first causing a differentiation at once domestic and social, between the activities of the sexes and the consequent positions of the sexes, presently begins to cause a differentiation among males, shown in the bondage of captives: a masterclass and a slave-class are formed.

Where men continue the wandering life in pursuit of wild food for themselves or their cattle, the groups they form are debarred from doing more by war than appropriate one another’s units individually; but where men have passed into the agricultural or settled state, it becomes possible for one community to take possession bodily of another community, along with the territory it occupies. When this happens there arise additional class-divisions. The conquered and tribute-paying community, besides having its headmen reduced to subjection, has its people reduced to a state such that, while they continue to live on their lands, they yield up, through the intermediation of their chiefs, part of the produce to the conquerors: so foreshadowing what eventually becomes a serf-class.

From the beginning the militant class, being by force of arms the dominant class, becomes the class which owns the source of food—the land. During the hunting and pastoral stages, the warriors of the group hold the land collectively. On passing into the settled state, their tenures become partly collective and partly individual in sundry ways, and eventually almost wholly individual. But throughout long stages of social evolution, landowning and militancy continue to be associated.

The class-differentiation of which militancy is the active cause, is furthered by the establishment of definite descent, and especially male descent, and by the transmission of position and property to the eldest son of the eldest continually. This conduces to inequalities of position and wealth between near kindred and remote kindred; and such inequalities once initiated, tend to increase; since it results from them that the superior get greater means of maintaining their power by accumulating appliances for offence and defence.

Such differentiation is augmented, at the same time that a new differentiation is set up, by the immigration of fugitives who attach themselves to the most powerful member of the group: now as dependants who work, and now as armed followers—armed followers who form a class bound to the dominant man and unconnected with the land. And since, in clusters of such groups, fugitives ordinarily flock most to the strongest group, and become adherents of its head, they are instrumental in furthering those subsequent integrations and differentiations which conquests bring about.

Inequalities of social position, bringing inequalities in the supplies and kinds of food, clothing, and shelter, tend to establish physical differences: to the further advantage of the rulers and disadvantage of the ruled. And beyond the physical differences, there are produced by the respective habits of life, mental differences, emotional and intellectual, strengthening the general contrast of nature.

When there come the conquests which produce compound societies, and, again, doubly compound ones, there result superpositions of ranks. And the general effect is that, while the ranks of the conquering society become respectively higher than those which existed before, the ranks of the conquered society become respectively lower.

The class-divisions thus formed during the earlier stages of militancy, are traversed and obscured as fast as many small societies are consolidated into one large society. Ranks referring to local organization are gradually replaced by ranks referring to general organization. Instead of deputy and sub-deputy governing agents who are the militant owners of the sub-divisions they rule, there come governing agents who more or less clearly form strata running throughout the society as a whole—a concomitant of developed political administration.

Chiefly, however, we have to note that while the higher political evolution of large social aggregates, tends to break down the divisions of rank which grew up in the small component social aggregates, by substituting other divisions, these original divisions are still more broken down by growing industrialism. Generating a wealth that is not connected with rank, this initiates a competing power; and at the same time, by establishing the equal positions of citizens before the law in respect of trading transactions, it weakens those divisions which at the outset expressed inequalities of position before the law.

As verifying these interpretations, I may add that they harmonize with the interpretations of ceremonial institutions already given. When the conquered enemy is made a slave, and mutilated by taking a trophy from his body, we see simultaneously originating the deepest political distinction and the ceremony which marks it; and with the continued militancy that compounds and re-compounds social groups, there goes at once the development of political distinctions and the development of ceremonies marking them. And as we before saw that growing industrialism diminishes the rigour of ceremonial rule, so here we see that it tends to destroy those class-divisions which militancy originates, and to establish quite alien ones which indicate differences of position consequent on differences of aptitude for the various functions which an industrial society needs.


While writing I find, in the recently-issued “Transactions of the Anthropological Institute,” proof that even now in England, the professional classes are both taller and heavier than the artizan classes.





Herbert Spencer, Chap. XVII. “The Militant Type of Society” (1882)

Editing History

  • Item added: 17 Sept. 2016
  • 1st Edit:


Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Sociology, in Three Volumes (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1898). Vol. 2.

  • Chap. XVII. “The Militant Type of Society” (1882) <>

Editor's Intro




§ 547. Preceding chapters have prepared the way for framing conceptions of the two fundamentally-unlike kinds of political organization, proper to the militant life and the industrial life, respectively. It will be instructive here to arrange in coherent order, those traits of the militant type already incidentally marked, and to join with them various dependent traits; and in the next chapter to deal in like manner with the traits of the industrial type.

During social evolution there has habitually been a mingling of the two. But we shall find that, alike in theory and in fact, it is possible to trace with due clearness those opposite characters which distinguish them in their respective complete developments. Especially is the nature of the organization which accompanies chronic militancy, capable of being inferred à priori and proved à posteriori to exist in numerous cases. While the nature of the organization accompanying pure industrialism, of which at present we have little experience, will be made clear by contrast; and such illustrations as exist of progress towards it will become recognizable.

Two liabilities to error must be guarded against. We have to deal with societies compounded and re-compounded in various degrees; and we have to deal with societies which, differing in their stages of culture, have their structures elaborated to different extents. We shall be misled, therefore, unless our comparisons are such as take account of unlikenesses in size and in civilization. Clearly, characteristics of the militant type which admit of being displayed by a vast nation, may not admit of being displayed by a horde of savages, though this is equally militant. Moreover, as institutions take long to acquire their finished forms, it is not to be expected that all militant societies will display the organization appropriate to them in its completeness. Rather may we expect that in most cases it will be incompletely displayed.

In face of these difficulties the best course will be to consider, first, what are the several traits which of necessity militancy tends to produce; and then to observe how far these traits are conjointly shown in past and present nations distinguished by militancy. Having contemplated the society ideally organized for war, we shall be prepared to recognize in real societies the characters which war has brought about.

§ 548. For preserving its corporate life, a society is impelled to corporate action; and the preservation of its corporate life is the more probable in proportion as its corporate action is the more complete. For purposes of offence and defence, the forces of individuals have to be combined; and where every individual contributes his force, the probability of success is greatest. Numbers, natures, and circumstances being equal, it is clear that of two tribes or two larger societies, one of which unites the actions of all its capable members while the other does not, the first will ordinarily be the victor. There must be an habitual survival of communities in which militant cooperation is universal.

This proposition is almost a truism. But it is needful here, as a preliminary, consciously to recognize the truth that the social structure evolved by chronic militancy, is one in which all men fit for fighting act in concert against other societies. Such further actions as they carry on they can carry on separately; but this action they must carry on jointly.

§ 549. A society’s power of self-preservation will be great in proportion as, besides the direct aid of all who can fight, there is given the indirect aid of all who cannot fight. Supposing them otherwise similar, those communities will survive in which the efforts of combatants are in the greatest degree seconded by those of non-combatants. In a purely militant society, therefore, individuals who do not bear arms have to spend their lives in furthering the maintenance of those who do. Whether, as happens at first, the non-combatants are exclusively the women; or whether, as happens later, the class includes enslaved captives; or whether, as happens later still, it includes serfs; the implication is the same. For if, of two societies equal in other respects, the first wholly subordinates its workers in this way, while the workers in the second are allowed to retain for themselves the produce of their labour, or more of it than is needful for maintaining them; then, in the second, the warriors, not otherwise supported, or supported less fully than they might else be, will have partially to support themselves, and will be so much the less available for war purposes. Hence in the struggle for existence between such societies, it must usually happen that the first will vanquish the second. The social type produced by survival of the fittest, will be one in which the fighting part includes all who can bear arms and be trusted with arms, while the remaining part serves simply as a permanent commissariat.

An obvious implication, of a significance to be hereafter pointed out, is that the non-combatant part, occupied in supporting the combatant part, cannot with advantage to the self-preserving power of the society increase beyond the limit at which it efficiently fulfils its purpose. For, otherwise, some who might be fighters are superfluous workers; and the fighting power of the society is made less than it might be. Hence, in the militant type, the tendency is for the body of warriors to bear the largest practicable ratio to the body of workers.

§ 550. Given two societies of which the members are all either warriors or those who supply the needs of warriors, and, other things equal, supremacy will be gained by that in which the efforts of all are most effectually combined. In open warfare joint action triumphs over individual action. Military history is a history of the successes of men trained to move and fight in concert.

Not only must there be in the fighting part a combination such that the powers of its units may be concentrated, but there must be a combination of the subservient part with it. If the two are so separated that they can act independently, the needs of the fighting part will not be adequately met. If to be cut off from a temporary base of operations is dangerous, still more dangerous is it to be cut off from the permanent base of operations; namely, that constituted by the body of non-combatants. This has to be so connected with the body of combatants that its services may be fully available. Evidently, therefore, development of the militant type involves a close binding of the society into a whole. As the loose group of savages yields to the solid phalanx, so, other things equal, must the society of which the parts are but feebly held together, yield to one in which they are held together by strong bonds.

§ 551. But in proportion as men are compelled to cooperate, their self-prompted actions are restrained. By as much as the unit becomes merged in the mass, by so much does he lose his individuality as a unit. And this leads us to note the several ways in which evolution of the militant type entails subordination of the citizen.

His life is not his own, but is at the disposal of his society. So long as he remains capable of bearing arms he has no alternative but to fight when called on; and, where militancy is extreme, he cannot return as a vanquished man under penalty of death.

Of course, with this there goes possession of such liberty only as military obligations allow. He is free to pursue his private ends only when the tribe or nation has no need of him; and when it has need of him, his actions from hour to hour must conform, not to his own will but to the public will.

So, too, with his property. Whether, as in many cases, what he holds as private he so holds by permission only, or whether private ownership is recognized, it remains true that in the last resort he is obliged to surrender whatever is demanded for the community’s use.

Briefly, then, under the militant type the individual is owned by the State. While preservation of the society is the primary end, preservation of each member is a secondary end—an end cared for chiefly as subserving the primary end.

§ 552. Fulfilment of these requirements, that there shall be complete corporate action, that to this end the non-combatant part shall be occupied in providing for the combatant part, that the entire aggregate shall be strongly bound together, and that the units composing it must have their individualities in life, liberty, and property, thereby subordinated, presupposes a coercive instrumentality. No such union for corporate action can be achieved without a powerful controlling agency. On remembering the fatal results caused by division of counsels in war, or by separation into factions in face of an enemy, we see that chronic militancy tends to develop a despotism; since, other things equal, those societies will habitually survive in which, by its aid, the corporate action is made complete.

And this involves a system of centralization. The trait made familiar to us by an army, in which, under a commander-in-chief there are secondary commanders over large masses, and under these tertiary ones over smaller masses, and so on down to the ultimate divisions, must characterize the social organization at large. A militant society requires a regulative structure of this kind, since, otherwise, its corporate action cannot be made most effectual. Without such grades of governing centres diffused throughout the non-combatant part as well as the combatant part, the entire forces of the aggregate cannot be promptly put forth. Unless the workers are under a control akin to that which the fighters are under, their indirect aid cannot be insured in full amount and with due quickness.

And this is the form of a society characterized by status—a society, the members of which stand one towards another in successive grades of subordination. From the despot down to the slave, all are masters of those below and subjects of those above. The relation of the child to the father, of the father to some superior, and so on up to the absolute head, is one in which the individal of lower status is at the mercy of one of higher status.

§ 553. Otherwise described, the process of militant organization is a process of regimentation, which, primarily taking place in the army, secondarily affects the whole community.

The first indication of this we trace in the fact everywhere visible, that the military head grows into a civil head—usually at once, and, in exceptional cases, at last, if militancy continues. Beginning as leader in war he becomes ruler in peace; and such regulative policy as he pursues in the one sphere, he pursues, so far as conditions permit, in the other. Being, as the non-combatant part is, a permanent commissariat, the principle of graduated subordination is extended to it. Its members come to be directed in a way like that in which the warriors are directed—not literally, since by dispersion of the one and concentration of the other exact parallelism is prevented; but, nevertheless, similarly in principle. Labour is carried on under coercion; and supervision spreads everywhere.

To suppose that a despotic military head, daily maintaining regimental control in conformity with inherited traditions, will not impose on the producing classes a kindred control, is to suppose in him sentiments and ideas entirely foreign to his circumstances.

§ 554. The nature of the militant form of government will be further elucidated on observing that it is both positively regulative and negatively regulative. It does not simply restrain; it also enforces. Besides telling the individual what he shall not do, it tells him what he shall do.

That the government of an army is thus characterised needs no showing. Indeed, commands of the positive kind given to the soldier are more important than those of the negative kind: fighting is done under the one, while order is maintained under the other. But here it chiefly concerns us to note that not only the control of military life but also the control of civil life, is, under the militant type of government, thus characterized. There are two ways in which the ruling power may deal with the private individual. It may simply limit his activities to those which he can carry on without aggression, direct or indirect, upon others; in which case its action is negatively regulative. Or, besides doing this, it may prescribe the how, and the where, and the when, of his activities—may force him to do things which he would not spontaneously do—may direct in greater or less detail his mode of living; in which case its action is positively regulative. Under the militant type this positively regulative action is widespread and peremptory. The civilian is in a condition as much like that of the soldier as difference of occupation permits.

And this is another way of expressing the truth that the fundamental principle of the militant type is compulsory co-operation. While this is obviously the principle on which the members of the combatant body act, it no less certainly must be the principle acted on throughout the non-combatant body, if military efficiency is to be great; since, otherwise, the aid which the non-combatant body has to furnish cannot be insured.

§ 555. That binding together by which the units of a militant society are made into an efficient fighting structure, tends to fix the position of each in rank, in occupation, and in locality.

In a graduated regulative organization there is resistance to change from a lower to a higher grade. Such change is made difficult by lack of the possessions needed for filling superior positions; and it is made difficult by the opposition of those who already fill them, and can hold inferiors down. Preventing intrusion from below, these transmit their respective places and ranks to their descendants; and as the principle of inheritance becomes settled, the rigidity of the social structure becomes decided. Only where an “egalitarian despotism” reduces all subjects to the same political status—a condition of decay rather than of development—does the converse state arise.

The principle of inheritance, becoming established in respect of the classes which militancy originates, and fixing the general functions of their members from generation to generation, tends eventually to fix also their special functions. Not only do men of the slave-classes and the artizan-classes succeed to their respective ranks, but they succeed to the particular occupations carried on in them. This, which is a result of the tendency towards regimentation, is ascribable primarily to the fact that a superior, requiring from each kind of worker his particular product, has an interest in replacing him at death by a capable successor; while the worker, prompted to get aid in executing his tasks, has an interest in bringing up a son to his own occupation: the will of the son being powerless against these conspiring interests. Under the system of compulsory cooperation, therefore, the principle of inheritance, spreading through the producing organization, causes a relative rigidity in this also.

A kindred effect is shown in the entailed restraints on movement from place to place. In proportion as the individual is subordinated in life, liberty, and property, to his society, it is needful that his whereabouts shall be constantly known. Obviously the relation of the soldier to his officer, and of this officer to his superior, is such that each must be ever at hand; and where the militant type is fully developed the like holds throughout the society. The slave cannot leave his appointed abode; the serf is tied to his allotment; the master is not allowed to absent himself from his locality without leave.

So that the corporate action, the combination, the cohesion, the regimentation, which efficient militancy necessitates, imply a structure which strongly resists change.

§ 556. A further trait of the militant type, naturally accompanying the last, is that organizations other than those forming parts of the State-organization, are wholly or partially repressed. The public combination occupying all fields, excludes private combinations.

For the achievement of complete corporate action there must, as we have seen, be a centralized administration, not only throughout the combatant part but throughout the non-combatant part; and if there exist unions of citizens which act independently, they in so far diminish the range of this centralized administration. Any structures which are not portions of the State-structure, serve more or less as limitations to it, and stand in the way of the required unlimited subordination. If private combinations are allowed to exist, it will be on condition of submitting to an official regulation such as greatly restrains independent action; and since private combinations officially regulated are inevitably hindered from doing things not conforming to established routine, and are thus debarred from improvement, they cannot habitually thrive and grow. Obviously, indeed, such combinations, based on the principle of voluntary cooperation, are incongruous with social arrangements based on the principle of compulsory cooperation. Hence the militant type is characterized by the absence, or comparative rarity, of bodies of citizens associated for commercial purposes, for propagating special religious views, for achieving philanthropic ends, &c.

Private combinations of one kind, however, are congruous with the militant type—the combinations, namely, which are formed for minor defensive or offensive purposes. We have, as examples, those which constitute factions, very general in militant societies; those which belong to the same class as primitive guilds, serving for mutual protection; and those which take the shape of secret societies. Of such bodies it may be noted that they fulfil on a small scale ends like those which the whole society fulfils on a large scale—the ends of self-preservation, or aggression, or both. And it may be further noted that these small included societies are organized on the same principle as the large including society—the principle of compulsory cooperation. Their governments are coercive: in some cases even to the extent of killing those of their members who are disobedient.

§ 557. A remaining fact to be set down is that a society of the militant type tends to evolve a self-sufficient sustaining organization. With its political autonomy there goes what we may call an economic autonomy. Evidently if it carries on frequent wars against surrounding societies, its commercial intercourse with them must be hindered or prevented: exchange of commodities can go on to but a small extent between those who are continually fighting. A militant society must, therefore, to the greatest degree practicable, provide internally the supplies of all articles needful for carrying on the lives of its members. Such an economic state as that which existed during early feudal times, when, as in France, “the castles made almost all the articles used in them,” is a state evidently entailed on groups, small or large, which are in constant antagonism with surrounding groups. If there does not already exist within any group so circumstanced, an agency for producing some necessary article, inability to obtain it from without will lead to the establishment of an agency for obtaining it within.

Whence it follows that the desire “not to be dependent on foreigners” is one appropriate to the militant type of society. So long as there is constant danger that the supplies of needful things derived from other countries will be cut off by the breaking out of hostilities, it is imperative that there shall be maintained a power of producing these supplies at home, and that to this end the required structures shall be maintained. Hence there is a manifest direct relation between militant activities and a protectionist policy.

§ 558. And now having observed the traits which may be expected to establish themselves by survival of the fittest during the struggle for existence among societies, let us observe how these traits are displayed in actual societies, similar in respect of their militancy but otherwise dissimilar.

Of course in small primitive groups, however warlike they may be, we must not look for more than rude outlines of the structure proper to the militant type. Being loosely aggregated, definite arrangement of their parts can be carried but to a small extent. Still, so far as it goes, the evidence is to the point. The fact that habitually the fighting body is coextensive with the adult male population, is so familiar that no illustrations are needed. An equally familiar fact is that the women, occupying a servile position, do all the unskilled labour and bear the burdens; with which may be joined the fact that not unfrequently during war they carry the supplies, as in Asia among the Bhils and Khonds, as in Polynesia among the new Caledonians and Sandwich Islanders, as in America among the Comanches, Mundrucus, Patagonians: their office as forming the permanent commissariat being thus clearly shown. We see, too, that where the enslaving of captives has arisen, these also serve to support and aid the combatant class; acting during peace as producers and during war joining the women in attendance on the army, as among the New Zealanders, or, as among the Malagasy, being then exclusively the carriers of provisions, &c. Again, in these first stages, as in later stages, we are shown that private claims are, in the militant type, over-ridden by public claims. The life of each man is held subject to the needs of the group; and, by implication, his freedom of action is similarly held. So, too, with his goods; as instance the remark made of the Brazilian Indians, that personal property, recognized but to a limited extent during peace, is scarcely at all recognized during war; and as instance Hearne’s statement concerning certain hyperborean tribes of North America when about to make war, that “property of every kind that could be of general use now ceased to be private.” To which add the cardinal truth, once more to be repeated, that where no political subordination exists war initiates it. Tacitly or overtly a chief is temporarily acknowledged; and he gains permanent power if war continues. From these beginnings of the militant type which small groups show us, let us pass to its developed forms as shown in larger groups.

“The army, or what is nearly synonymous, the nation of Dahome,” to quote Burton’s words, furnishes us with a good example: the excessive militancy being indicated by the fact that the royal bedroom is paved with skulls of enemies. Here the king is absolute, and is regarded as supernatural in character—he is the “spirit;” and of course he is the religious head—he ordains the priests. He absorbs in himself all powers and all rights: “by the state-law of Dahome . . . all men are slaves to the king.” He “is heir to all his subjects;” and he takes from living subjects whatever he likes. When we add that there is a frequent killing of victims to carry messages to the other world, as well as occasions on which numbers are sacrificed to supply deceased kings with attendants, we are shown that life, liberty, and property, are at the entire disposal of the State as represented by its head. In both the civil and military organizations, the centres and sub-centres of control are numerous. Names, very generally given by the king and replacing surnames, change “with every rank of the holder;” and so detailed is the regimentation that “the dignities seem interminable.” There are numerous sumptuary laws; and, according to Waitz, no one wears any other clothing or weapons than what the king gives him or allows him. Under penalty of slavery or death, “no man must alter the construction of his house, sit upon a chair, or be carried on a hammock, or drink out of a glass,” without permission of the king.

The ancient Peruvian empire, gradually established by the conquering Yncas, may next be instanced. Here the ruler, divinely descended, sacred, absolute, was the centre of a system which minutely controlled all life. His headship was at once military, political, ecclesiastical, judicial; and the entire nation was composed of those who, in the capacity of soldiers, labourers, and officials, were slaves to him and his deified ancestors. Military service was obligatory on all taxable Indians who were capable; and those of them who had served their prescribed terms, formed into reserves, had then to work under State-superintendence. The army having heads over groups of ten, fifty, a hundred, five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, had, besides these, its superior commanders of Ynca blood. The community at large was subject to a parallel regimentation: the inhabitants registered in groups, being under the control of officers over tens, fifties, hundreds, and so on. And through these successive grades of centres, reports ascended to the Ynca-governors of great divisions, passing on from them to the Ynca; while his orders descended “from rank to rank till they reached the lowest.” There was an ecclesiastical organization similarly elaborate, having, for example, five classes of diviners; and there was an organization of spies to examine and report upon the doings of the other officers. Everything was under public inspection. There were village-officers who overlooked the ploughing, sowing, and harvesting. When there was a deficiency of rain, measured quantities of water were supplied by the State. All who travelled without authority were punished as vagabonds; but for those who were authorized to travel for public purposes, there were establishments supplying lodging and necessaries. “It was the duty of the decurions to see that the people were clothed;” and the kinds of cloth, decorations, badges, &c., to be worn by the different ranks were prescribed. Besides this regulation of external life there was regulation of domestic life. The people were required to “dine and sup with open doors, that the judges might be able to enter freely;” and these judges had to see that the house, clothes, furniture, &c., were kept clean and in order, and the children properly disciplined: those who mismanaged their houses being flogged. Subject to this minute control, the people laboured to support this elaborate State-organization. The political, religious, and military classes were exempt from tribute; while the labouring classes when not serving in the army, had to yield up all produce beyond that required for their bare sustenance. Of the whole empire, one-third was allotted for supporting the State, one-third for supporting the priesthood who ministered to the manes of ancestors, and the remaining third had to support the workers. Besides giving tribute by tilling the lands of the Sun and the King, the workers had to till the lands of the soldiers on duty, as well as those of incapables. And they also had to pay tribute of clothes, shoes, and arms. Of the lands on which the people maintained themselves, a tract was apportioned to each man according to the size of his family. Similarly with the produce of the flocks. Such moiety of this in each district as was not required for supplying public needs, was periodically shorn, and the wool divided by officials. These arrangements were in pursuance of the principle that “the private property of each man was held by favour of the Ynca, and according to their laws he had no other title to it.” Thus the people, completely possessed by the State in person, property, and labour, transplanted to this or that locality as the Ynca directed, and, when not serving as soldiers, living under a discipline like that within the army, were units in a centralized regimented machine, moved throughout life to the greatest practicable extent by the Ynca’s will, and to the least practicable extent by their own wills. And, naturally, along with militant organization thus carried to its ideal limit, there went an almost entire absence of any other organization. They had no money; “they neither sold clothes, nor houses, nor estates;” and trade was represented among them by scarcely anything more than some bartering of articles of food.

So far as accounts of it show, ancient Egypt presented phenomena allied in their general, if not in their special, characters. Its predominant militancy during remote unrecorded times, is sufficiently implied by the vast population of slaves who toiled to build the pyramids; and its subsequent continued militancy we are shown alike by the boasting records of its kings, and the delineations of their triumphs on its temple-walls. Along with this form of activity we have, as before, the god-descended ruler, limited in his powers only by the usages transmitted from his divine ancestors, who was at once political head, high priest, and commander-in-chief. Under him was a centralized organization, of which the civil part was arranged in classes and sub-classes as definite as were those of the militant part. Of the four great social divisions—priests, soldiers, traders, and common people, beneath whom came the slaves—the first contained more than a score different orders; the second, some half-dozen beyond those constituted by military grades; the third, nearly a dozen; and the fourth, a still greater number. Though within the ruling classes the castes were not so rigorously defined as to prevent change of function in successive generations, yet Herodotus and Diodorus state that industrial occupations descended from father to son: “every particular trade and manufacture was carried on by its own craftsmen, and none changed from one trade to another.” How elaborate was the regimentation may be judged from the detailed account of the staff of officers and workers engaged in one of their vast quarries: the numbers and kinds of functionaries paralleling those of an army. To support this highly-developed regulative organization, civil, military, and sacerdotal (an organization which held exclusive possession of the land) the lower classes laboured. “Overseers were set over the wretched people, who were urged to hard work more by the punishment of the stick than words of warning.” And whether or not official oversight included domiciliary visits, it at any rate went to the extent of taking note of each family. “Every man was required under pain of death to give an account to the magistrate of how he earned his livelihood.”

Take, now, another ancient society, which, strongly contrasted in sundry respects, shows us, along with habitual militancy, the assumption of structural traits allied in their fundamental characters to those thus far observed. I refer to Sparta. That warfare did not among the Spartans evolve a single despotic head, while in part due to causes which, as before shown, favour the development of compound political heads, was largely due to the accident of their double kingship: the presence of two divinely-descended chiefs prevented the concentration of power. But though from this cause there continued an imperfectly centralized government, the relation of this government to members of the community was substantially like that of militant governments in general. Notwithstanding the serfdom, and in towns the slavery, of the Helots, and notwithstanding the political subordination of the Periœki, they all, in common with the Spartans proper, were under obligation to military service: the working function of the first, and the trading function, so far as it existed, which was carried on by the second, were subordinate to the militant function, with which the third was exclusively occupied. And the civil divisions thus marked re-appeared in the military divisions: “at the battle of Platæa every Spartan hoplite had seven Helots, and every Periœki hoplite one Helot to attend him.” The extent to which, by the daily military discipline, prescribed military mess, and fixed contributions of food, the individual life of the Spartan was subordinated to public demands, from seven years upwards, needs mention only to show the rigidity of the restraints which here, as elsewhere, the militant type imposes—restraints which were further shown in the prescribed age for marriage, the prevention of domestic life, the forbidding of industry or any money-seeking occupation, the interdict on going abroad without leave, and the authorized censorship under which his days and nights were passed. There was fully carried out in Sparta the Greek theory of society, that “the citizen belongs neither to himself nor to his family, but to his city.” So that though in this exceptional case, chronic militancy was prevented from developing a supreme head, owning the individual citizen in body and estate, yet it developed an essentially identical relation between the community as a whole and its units. The community, exercising its power through a compound head instead of through a simple head, completely enslaved the individual. While the lives and labours of the Helots were devoted exclusively to the support of those who formed the military organization, the lives and labours of those who formed the military organization were exclusively devoted to the service of the State: they were slaves with a difference.

Of modern illustrations, that furnished by Russia will suffice. Here, again, with the wars which effected conquests and consolidations, came the development of the victorious commander into the absolute ruler, who, if not divine by alleged origin, yet acquired something like divine prestige. “All men are equal before God, and the Russians’ God is the Emperor,” says De Custine: “the supreme governor is so raised above earth, that he sees no difference between the serf and the lord.” Under the stress of Peter the Great’s wars, which, as the nobles complained, took them away from their homes, “not, as formerly, for a single campaign, but for long years,” they became “servants of the State, without privileges, without dignity, subjected to corporal punishment, and burdened with onerous duties from which there was no escape.” “Any noble who refused to serve [‘the State in the Army, the Fleet, or the Civil Administration, from boyhood to old age,’] was not only deprived of his estate, as in the old times, but was declared to be a traitor, and might be condemned to capital punishment.” “Under Peter,” says Wallace, “all offices, civil and military,” were “arranged in fourteen classes or ranks;” and he “defined the obligations of each with microscopic minuteness. After his death the work was carried on in the same spirit, and the tendency reached its climax in the reign of Nicholas.” In the words of De Custine, “the tchinn [the name for this organization] is a nation formed into a regiment; it is the military system applied to all classes of society, even to those who never go to war.” With this universal regimentation in structure went a regimental discipline. The conduct of life was dictated to the citizens at large in the same way as to soldiers. In the reign of Peter and his successors, domestic entertainments were appointed and regulated; the people were compelled to change their costumes; the clergy to cut off their beards; and even the harnessing of horses was according to pattern. Occupations were controlled to the extent that “no boyard could enter any profession, or forsake it when embraced, or retire from public to private life, or dispose of his property, or travel into any foreign country, without the permission of the Czar.” This omnipresent rule is well expressed in the close of certain rhymes, for which a military officer was sent to Siberia:—

  • “Tout se fait par ukase ici;
  • C’est par ukase que l’on voyage,
  • C’est par ukase que l’on rit.”

Taking thus the existing barbarous society of Dahomey, formed of negroes, the extinct semi-civilized empire of the Yncas, whose subjects were remote in blood from these, the ancient Egyptian empire peopled by yet other races, the community of the Spartans, again unlike in the type of its men, and the existing Russian nation made up of Slavs and Tatars, we have before us cases in which such similarities of social structure as exist, cannot be ascribed to inheritance of a common character by the social units. The immense contrasts between the populations of these several societies, too, varying from millions at the one extreme to thousands at the other, negative the supposition that their common structural traits are consequent on size. Nor can it be supposed that likenesses of conditions in respect of climate, surface, soil, flora, fauna, or likenesses of habits caused by such conditions, can have had anything to do with the likenesses of organization in these societies; for their respective habitats present numerous marked unlikenesses. Such traits as they one and all exhibit, not ascribable to any other cause, must thus be ascribed to the habitual militancy characteristic of them all. The results of induction alone would go far to warrant this ascription; and it is fully warranted by their correspondence with the results of deduction, as set forth above.

§ 559. Any remaining doubts must disappear on observing how continued militancy is followed by further development of the militant organization. Three illustrations will suffice.

When, during Roman conquests, the tendency for the successful general to become despot, repeatedly displayed, finally took effect—when the title imperator, military in its primary meaning, became the title for the civil ruler, showing us on a higher platform that genesis of political headship out of military headship visible from the beginning—when, as usually happens, an increasingly divine character was acquired by the civil ruler, as shown in the assumption of the sacred name Augustus, as well as in the growth of an actual worship of him; there simultaneously became more pronounced those further traits which characterize the militant type in its developed form. Practically, if not nominally, the other powers of the State were absorbed by him. In the words of Duruy, he had—

“The right of proposing, that is, of making laws; of receiving and trying appeals, i.e. the supreme jurisdiction; of arresting by the tribunitian veto every measure and every sentence, i.e. of putting his will in opposition to the laws and magistrates; of summoning the senate or the people and presiding over it, i.e. of directing the electoral assemblies as he thought fit. And these prerogatives he will have not for a single year but for life; not in Rome only . . . but throughout the empire; not shared with ten colleagues, but exercised by himself alone; lastly, without any account to render, since he never resigns his office.”

Along with these changes went an increase in the number and definiteness of social divisions. The Emperor—

“Placed between himself and the masses a multitude of people regularly classed by categories, and piled one above the other in such a way that this hierarchy, pressing with all its weight upon the masses underneath, held the people and factious individuals powerless. What remained of the old patrician nobility had the foremost rank in the city; . . . below it came the senatorial nobility, half hereditary; below that the moneyed nobility or equestrian order—three aristocracies superposed. . . . The sons of senators formed a class intermediate between the senatorial and the equestrian order. . . . In the 2nd century the senatorial families formed an hereditary nobility with privileges.”

At the same time the administrative organization was greatly extended and complicated.

“Augustus created a large number of new offices, as the superintendence of public works, roads, aqueducts, the Tiber-bed, distribution of corn to the people. . . . He also created numerous offices of procurators for the financial administration of the empire, and in Rome there were 1,060 municipal officers.”

The structural character proper to an army spread in a double way: military officers acquired civil functions and functionaries of a civil kind became partially military. The magistrates appointed by the Emperor, tending to replace those appointed by the people, had, along with their civil authority, military authority; and while “under Augustus the prefects of the pretorium were only military chiefs, . . . they gradually possessed themselves of the whole civil authority, and finally became, after the Emperor, the first personages in the empire.” Moreover, the governmental structures grew by incorporating bodies of functionaries who were before independent. “In his ardour to organize everything, he aimed at regimenting the law itself, and made an official magistracy of that which had always been a free profession.” To enforce the rule of this extended administration, the army was made permanent, and subjected to severe discipline. With the continued growth of the regulating and coercing organization, the drafts on producers increased; and, as shown by extracts in a previous chapter concerning the Roman régime in Egypt and in Gaul, the working part of the community was reduced more and more to the form of a permanent commissariat. In Italy the condition eventually arrived at was one in which vast tracts were “intrusted to freedmen, whose only consideration was . . . how to extract from their labourers the greatest amount of work with the smallest quantity of food.”

An example under our immediate observation may next be taken—that of the German Empire. Such traits of the militant type in Germany as were before manifest, have, since the late war, become still more manifest. The army, active and passive, including officers and attached functionaries, has been increased by about 100,000 men; and changes in 1875 and 1880, making certain reserves more available, have practically caused a further increase of like amount. Moreover, the smaller German States, having in great part surrendered the administration of their several contingents, the German army has become more consolidated; and even the armies of Saxony, Würtemberg, and Bavaria, being subject to Imperial supervision, have in so far ceased to be independent. Instead of each year granting military supplies, as had been the practice in Prussia before the formation of the North German Confederation, the Parliament of the Empire was, in 1871, induced to vote the required annual sum for three years thereafter; in 1874 it did the like for the succeeding seven years; and again in 1880 the greatly increased amount for the augmented army was authorized for the seven years then following: steps obviously surrendering popular checks on Imperial power. Simultaneously, military officialism has been in two ways replacing civil officialism. Subaltern officers are rewarded for long services by appointments to civil posts—local communes being forced to give them the preference to civilians; and not a few members of the higher civil service, and of the universities, as well as teachers in the public schools, having served as “volunteers of one year,” become commissioned officers of the Landwehr. During the struggles of the so-called Kulturkampf, the ecclesiastical organization became more subordinated by the political. Priests suspended by bishops were maintained in their offices; it was made penal for a clergyman publicly to take part against the government; a recalcitrant bishop had his salary stopped; the curriculum for ecclesiastics was prescribed by the State, and examination by State-officials required; church discipline was subjected to State-approval; and a power of expelling rebellious clergy from the country was established. Passing to the industrial activities we may note, first, that through sundry steps, from 1873 onwards, there has been a progressive transfer of railways into the hands of the State; so that, partly by original construction (mainly of lines for military purposes), and partly by purchase, three-fourths of all Prussian railways have been made government property; and the same percentage holds in the other German States: the aim being eventually to make them all Imperial. Trade interferences have been extended in various ways—by protectionist tariffs, by revival of the usury laws, by restrictions on Sunday labour. Through its postal service the State has assumed industrial functions—presents acceptances, receives money on bills of exchange that are due, as also on ordinary bills, which it gets receipted; and until stopped by shopkeepers’ protests, undertook to procure books from publishers. Lastly there come the measures for extending, directly and indirectly, the control over popular life. On the one hand there are the laws under which, up to the middle of last year, 224 socialist societies have been closed, 180 periodicals suppressed, 317 books, &c., forbidden; and under which sundry places have been reduced to a partial state of siege. On the other hand may be named Prince Bismarck’s scheme for re-establishing guilds (bodies which by their regulations coerce their members), and his scheme of State-insurance, by the help of which the artizan would, in a considerable degree, have his hands tied. Though these measures have not been carried in the forms proposed, yet the proposal of them sufficiently shows the general tendency. In all which changes we see progress towards a more integrated structure, towards increase of the militant part as compared with the industrial part, towards the replacing of civil organization by military organization, towards the strengthening of restraints over the individual and regulation of his life in greater detail.*

The remaining example to be named is that furnished by our own society since the revival of military activity—a revival which has of late been so marked that our illustrated papers are, week after week, occupied with little else than scenes of warfare. Already in the first volume of The Principles of Sociology, I have pointed out many ways in which the system of compulsory cooperation characterizing the militant type, has been trenching on the system of voluntary cooperation characterizing the industrial type; and since those passages appeared (July, 1876), other changes in the same direction have taken place. Within the military organization itself, we may note the increasing assimilation of the volunteer forces to the regular army, now going to the extent of proposing to make them available abroad, so that instead of defensive action for which they were created, they can be used for offensive action; and we may also note that the tendency shown in the army during the past generation to sink the military character whenever possible, by putting on civilian dresses, is now checked by an order to officers in garrison towns to wear their uniforms when off duty, as they do in more militant countries. Whether, since the date named, usurpations of civil functions by military men (which had in 1873-4 gone to the extent that there were 97 colonels, majors, captains, and lieutenants employed from time to time as inspectors of science and art classes) have gone further, I cannot say; but there has been a manifest extension of the militant spirit and discipline among the police, who, wearing helmet-shaped hats, beginning to carry revolvers, and looking upon themselves as half soldiers, have come to speak of the people as “civilians.” To an increasing extent the executive has been over-riding the other governmental agencies; as in the Cyprus business, and as in the doings of the Indian Viceroy under secret instructions from home. In various minor ways are shown endeavours to free officialism from popular checks; as in the desire expressed in the House of Lords that the hanging of convicts in prisons, entrusted entirely to the authorities, should have no other witnesses; and as in the advice given by the late Home Secretary (on the 11th May, 1878) to the Derby Town Council, that it should not interfere with the chief constable (a military man) in his government of the force under him—a step towards centralizing local police control in the Home Office. Simultaneously we see various actual or prospective extensions of public agency, replacing or restraining private agency. There is the “endowment of research,” which, already partially carried out by a government fund, many wish to carry further; there is the proposed act for establishing a registration of authorized teachers; there is the bill which provides central inspection for local public libraries; there is the scheme for compulsory insurance—a scheme showing us in an instructive manner the way in which the regulating policy extends itself: compulsory charity having generated improvidence, there comes compulsory insurance as a remedy for the improvidence. Other proclivities towards institutions belonging to the militant type, are seen in the increasing demand for some form of protection, and in the lamentations uttered by the “society papers” that duelling has gone out. Nay, even through the party which by position and function is antagonistic to militancy, we see that militant discipline is spreading; for the caucus-system, established for the better organization of liberalism, is one which necessarily, in a greater or less degree, centralizes authority and controls individual action.

Besides seeing, then, that the traits to be inferred à priori as characterizing the militant type, constantly exist in societies which are permanently militant in high degrees, we also see that in other societies increase of militant activity is followed by development of such traits.

§ 560. In some places I have stated, and in other places implied, that a necessary relation exists between the structure of a society and the natures of its citizens. Here it will be well to observe in detail the characters proper to, and habitually exemplified by, the members of a typically militant society.

Other things equal, a society will be successful in war in proportion as its members are endowed with bodily vigour and courage. And, on the average, among conflicting societies there will be a survival and spread of those in which the physical and mental powers called for in battle, are not only most marked but also most honoured. Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures and inscriptions, show us that prowess was the thing above all others thought most worthy of record. Of the words good, just, &c., as used by the ancient Greeks, Grote remarks that they “signify the man of birth, wealth, influence and daring, whose arm is strong to destroy or to protect, whatever may be the turn of his moral sentiments; while the opposite epithet, bad, designates the poor, lowly, and weak, from whose dispositions, be they ever so virtuous society has little to hope or to fear.” In the identification of virtue with bravery among the Romans, we have a like implication. During early turbulent times throughout Europe, the knightly character, which was the honourable character, primarily included fearlessness: lacking this, good qualities were of no account; but with this, sins of many kinds, great though they might be, were condoned.

If, among antagonist groups of primitive men, some tolerated more than others the killing of their members—if, while some always retaliated others did not; those which did not retaliate, continually aggressed on with impunity, would either gradually disappear or have to take refuge in undesirable habitats. Hence there is a survival of the unforgiving. Further, the lex talionis, primarily arising between antagonist groups, becomes the law within the group; and chronic feuds between component families and clans, everywhere proceed upon the general principle of life for life. Under the militant régime revenge becomes a virtue, and failure to revenge a disgrace. Among the Fijians, who foster anger in their children, it is not infrequent for a man to commit suicide rather than live under an insult; and in other cases the dying Fijian bequeathes the duty of inflicting vengeance to his children. This sentiment and the resulting practices we trace among peoples otherwise wholly alien, who are, or have been, actively militant. In the remote East may be instanced the Japanese. They are taught that “with the slayer of his father a man may not live under the same heaven; against the slayer of his brother a man must never have to go home to fetch a weapon; with the slayer of his friend a man may not live in the same State.” And in the West may be instanced France during feudal days, when the relations of one killed or injured were required by custom to retaliate on any relations of the offender—even those living at a distance and knowing nothing of the matter. Down to the time of the Abbé Brantôme, the spirit was such that that ecclesiastic, enjoining on his nephews by his will to avenge any unredressed wrongs done to him in his old age, says of himself—“I may boast, and I thank God for it, that I never received an injury without being revenged on the author of it.” That where militancy is active, revenge, private as well as public, becomes a duty, is well shown at the present time among the Montenegrins—a people who have been at war with the Turks for centuries. “Dans le Montenegro,” says Boué, “on dira d’un homme d’une natrie [clan] ayant tué un individu d’une autre: Cette natrie nous doit une tête, et il faut que cette dette soit acquittée, car qui ne se venge pas ne se sancitie pas.”

Where activity in destroying enemies is chronic, destruction will become a source of pleasure; where success in subduing fellow-men is above all things honoured, there will arise delight in the forcible exercise of mastery; and with pride in spoiling the vanquished, will go disregard for the rights of property at large. As it is incredible that men should be courageous in face of foes and cowardly in face of friends, so it is incredible that the other feelings fostered by perpetual conflicts abroad should not come into play at home. We have just seen that with the pursuit of vengeance outside the society, there goes the pursuit of vengeance inside the society; and whatever other habits of thought and action constant war necessitates, must show their effects on the social life at large. Facts from various places and times prove that in militant communities the claims to life, liberty, and property, are little regarded. The Dahomans, warlike to the extent that both sexes are warriors, and by whom slave-hunting invasions are, or were, annually undertaken “to furnish funds for the royal exchequer,” show their bloodthirstiness by their annual “customs,” at which multitudinous victims are publicly slaughtered for the popular gratification. The Fijians, again, highly militant in their activities and type of organization, who display their recklessness of life not only by killing their own people for cannibal feasts, but by destroying immense numbers of their infants and by sacrificing victims on such trivial occasions as launching a new canoe, so much applaud ferocity that to commit a murder is a glory. Early records of Asiatics and Europeans show us the like relation. What accounts there are of the primitive Mongols, who, when united, massacred western peoples wholesale, show us a chronic reign of violence, both within and without their tribes; while domestic assassinations, which from the beginning have characterized the militant Turks, continue to characterize them down to our own day. In proof that it was so with the Greek and Latin races it suffices to instance the slaughter of the two thousand helots by the Spartans, whose brutality was habitual, and the murder of large numbers of suspected citizens by jealous Roman emperors, who also, like their subjects, manifested their love of bloodshed in their arenas. That where life is little regarded there can be but little regard for liberty, follows necessarily. Those who do not hesitate to end another’s activities by killing him, will still less hesitate to restrain his activities by holding him in bondage. Militant savages, whose captives, when not eaten, are enslaved, habitually show us this absence of regard for fellow-men’s freedom, which characterizes the members of militant societies in general. How little, under the régime of war, more or less markedly displayed in all early historic societies, there was any sentiment against depriving men of their liberties, is sufficiently shown by the fact that even in the teachings of primitive Christianity there was no express condemnation of slavery. Naturally the like holds with the right of property. Where mastery established by force is honourable, claims to possession by the weaker are likely to be little respected by the stronger. In Fiji it is considered chief-like to seize a subject’s goods; and theft is virtuous if undiscovered. Among the Spartans “the ingenious and successful pilferer gained applause with his booty.” In mediæval Europe, with perpetual robberies of one society by another there went perpetual robberies within each society. Under the Merovingians “the murders and crimes it [The Ecclesiastical History of the Franks] relates, have almost all for their object the possession of the treasure of the murdered persons.” And under Charlemagne plunder by officials was chronic: the moment his back was turned, “the provosts of the king appropriated the funds intended to furnish food and clothing for the artisans.”

Where warfare is habitual, and the required qualities most needful and therefore most honoured, those whose lives do not display them are treated with contempt, and their occupations regarded as dishonourable. In early stages labour is the business of women and of slaves—conquered men and the descendants of conquered men; and trade of every kind, carried on by subject classes, long continues to be identified with lowness of origin and nature. In Dahomey, “agriculture is despised because slaves are employed in it.” “The Japanese nobles and placemen, even of secondary rank, entertain a sovereign contempt for traffic.” Of the ancient Egyptians Wilkinson says, “their prejudices against mechanical employments, as far as regarded the soldier, were equally strong as in the rigid Sparta.” “For trade and commerce the [ancient] Persians were wont to express extreme contempt,” writes Rawlinson. That progress of class-differentiation which accompanied the conquering wars of the Romans, was furthered by establishment of the rule that it was disgraceful to take money for work, as also by the law forbidding senators and senators’ sons from engaging in speculation. And how great has been the scorn expressed by the militant classes for the trading classes throughout Europe, down to quite recent times, needs no showing.

That there may be willingness to risk life for the benefit of the society, there must be much of the feeling called patriotism. Though the belief that it is glorious to die for one’s country cannot be regarded as essential, since mercenaries fight without it; yet it is obvious that such a belief conduces greatly to success in war; and that entire absence of it is so unfavourable to offensive and defensive action that failure and subjugation will, other things equal, be likely to result. Hence the sentiment of patriotism is habitually established by the survival of societies the members of which are most characterized by it.

With this has to be united the sentiment of obedience. The possibility of that united action by which, other things equal, war is made successful, depends on the readiness of individuals to subordinate their wills to the will of a commander or ruler. Loyalty is essential. In early stages the manifestation of it is but temporary; as among the Araucanians who, ordinarily showing themselves “repugnant to all subordination, are then [when war is impending] prompt to obey, and submissive to the will of their military sovereign” appointed for the occasion. And with development of the militant type this sentiment becomes permanent. Erskine tells us that the Fijians are intensely loyal: men buried alive in the foundations of a king’s house, considered themselves honoured by being so sacrificed; and the people of a slave district “said it was their duty to become food and sacrifice for the chiefs.” So in Dahomey, there is felt for the king “a mixture of love and fear, little short of adoration.” In ancient Egypt again, where “blind obedience was the oil which caused the harmonious working of the machinery” of social life, the monuments on every side show with wearisome iteration the daily acts of subordination—of slaves and others to the dead man, of captives to the king, of the king to the gods. Though for reasons already pointed out, chronic war did not generate in Sparta a supreme political head, to whom there could be shown implicit obedience, yet the obedience shown to the political agency which grew up was profound: individual wills were in all things subordinate to the public will expressed by the established authorities. Primitive Rome, too, though without a divinely-descended king to whom submission could be shown, displayed great submission to an appointed king, qualified only by expressions of opinion on special occasions; and the principle of absolute obedience, slightly mitigated in the relations of the community as a whole to its ruling agency, was unmitigated within its component groups. That throughout European history, alike on small and on large scales, we see the sentiment of loyalty dominant where the militant type of structure is pronounced, is a truth that will be admitted without detailed proof.

From these conspicuous traits of nature, let us turn to certain consequent traits which are less conspicuous, and which have results of less manifest kinds. Along with loyalty naturally goes faith—the two being, indeed, scarcely separable. Readiness to obey the commander in war, implies belief in his military abilities; and readiness to obey him during peace, implies belief that his abilities extend to civil affairs also. Imposing on men’s imaginations, each new conquest augments his authority. There come more frequent and more decided evidences of his regulative action over men’s lives; and these generate the idea that his power is boundless. Unlimited confidence in governmental agency is fostered. Generations brought up under a system which controls all affairs, private and public, tacitly assume that affairs can only thus be controlled. Those who have experience of no other régime are unable to imagine any other régime. In such societies as that of ancient Peru, for example, where, as we have seen, regimental rule was universal, there were no materials for framing the thought of an industrial life spontaneously carried on and spontaneously regulated.

By implication there results repression of individual initiative, and consequent lack of private enterprise. In proportion as an army becomes organized, it is reduced to a state in which the independent action of its members is forbidden. And in proportion as regimentation pervades the society at large, each member of it, directed or restrained at every turn, has little or no power of conducting his business otherwise than by established routine. Slaves can do only what they are told by their masters; their masters cannot do anything that is unusual without official permission; and no permission is to be obtained from the local authority until superior authorities through their ascending grades have been consulted. Hence the mental state generated is that of passive acceptance and expectancy. Where the militant type is fully developed, everything must be done by public agencies; not only for the reason that these occupy all spheres, but for the further reason that did they not occupy them, there would arise no other agencies: the prompting ideas and sentiments having been obliterated.

There must be added a concomitant influence on the intellectual nature, which cooperates with the moral influences just named. Personal causation is alone recognized, and the conception of impersonal causation is prevented from developing. The primitive man has no idea of cause in the modern sense. The only agents included in his theory of things are living persons and the ghosts of dead persons. All unusual occurrences, together with those usual ones liable to variation, he ascribes to supernatural beings. And this system of interpretation survives through early stages of civilization; as we see, for example, among the Homeric Greeks, by whom wounds, deaths, and escapes in battle, were ascribed to the enmity or the aid of the gods, and by whom good and bad acts were held to be divinely prompted. Continuance and development of militant forms and activities maintain this way of thinking. In the first place, it indirectly hinders the discovery of causal relations. The sciences grow out of the arts—begin as generalizations of truths which practice of the arts makes manifest. In proportion as processes of production multiply in their kinds and increase in their complexities, more numerous uniformities come to be recognized; and the ideas of necessary relation and physical cause arise and develop. Consequently, by discouraging industrial progress militancy checks the replacing of ideas of personal agency by ideas of impersonal agency. In the second place, it does the like by direct repression of intellectual culture. Naturally a life occupied in acquiring knowledge, like a life occupied in industry, is regarded with contempt by a people devoted to arms. The Spartans clearly exemplified this relation in ancient times; and it was again exemplified during feudal ages in Europe, when learning was scorned as proper only for clerks and the children of mean people. And obviously, in proportion as warlike activities are antagonistic to study and the spread of knowledge, they further retard that emancipation from primitive ideas which ends in recognition of natural uniformities. In the third place, and chiefly, the effect in question is produced by the conspicuous and perpetual experience of personal agency which the militant régime yields. In the army, from the commander-in-chief down to the private undergoing drill, every movement is directed by a superior; and throughout the society, in proportion as its regimentation is elaborate, things are hourly seen to go thus or thus according to the regulating wills of the ruler and his subordinates. In the interpretation of social affairs, personal causation is consequently alone recognized. History comes to be made up of the doings of remarkable men; and it is tacitly assumed that societies have been formed by them. Wholly foreign to the habit of mind as is the thought of impersonal causation, the course of social evolution is unperceived. The natural genesis of social structures and functions is an utterly alien conception, and appears absurd when alleged. The notion of a self-regulating social process is unintelligible. So that militancy moulds the citizen into a form not only morally adapted but intellectually adapted—a form which cannot think away from the entailed system.

§ 561. In three ways, then, we are shown the character of the militant type of social organization. Observe the congruities which comparison of results discloses.

Certain conditions, manifest à priori, have to be fulfilled by a society fitted for preserving itself in presence of antagonist societies. To be in the highest degree efficient, the corporate action needed for preserving the corporate life must be joined in by every one. Other things equal, the fighting power will be greatest where those who cannot fight, labour exclusively to support and help those who can: an evident implication being that the working part shall be no larger than is required for these ends. The efforts of all being utilized directly or indirectly for war, will be most effectual when they are most combined; and, besides union among the combatants, there must be such union of the non-combatants with them as renders the aid of these fully and promptly available. To satisfy these requirements, the life, the actions, and the possessions, of each individual must be held at the service of the society. This universal service, this combination, and this merging of individual claims, pre-suppose a despotic controlling agency. That the will of the soldier-chief may be operative when the aggregate is large, there must be sub-centres and sub-sub-centres in descending grades, through whom orders may be conveyed and enforced, both throughout the combatant part and the non-combatant part. As the commander tells the soldier both what he shall not do and what he shall do; so, throughout the militant community at large, the rule is both negatively regulative and positively regulative: it not only restrains, but it directs: the citizen as well as the soldier lives under a system of compulsory cooperation. Development of the militant type involves increasing rigidity, since the cohesion, the combination, the subordination, and the regulation, to which the units of a society are subjected by it, inevitably decrease their ability to change their social positions, their occupations, their localities.

On inspecting sundry societies, past and present, large and small, which are, or have been, characterized in high degrees by militancy, we are shown, à posteriori, that amid the differences due to race, to circumstances, and to degrees of development, there are fundamental similarities of the kinds above inferred à priori. Modern Dahomey and Russia, as well as ancient Peru, Egypt, and Sparta, exemplify that owning of the individual by the State in life, liberty, and goods, which is proper to a social system adapted for war. And that with changes further fitting a society for warlike activities, there spread throughout it an officialism, a dictation, and a superintendence, akin to those under which soldiers live, we are shown by imperial Rome, by imperial Germany, and by England since its late aggressive activities.

Lastly comes the evidence furnished by the adapted characters of the men who compose militant societies. Making success in war the highest glory, they are led to identify goodness with bravery and strength. Revenge becomes a sacred duty with them; and acting at home on the law of retaliation which they act on abroad, they similarly, at home as abroad, are ready to sacrifice others to self: their sympathies, continually deadened during war, cannot be active during peace. They must have a patriotism which regards the triumph of their society as the supreme end of action; they must possess the loyalty whence flows obedience to authority; and that they may be obedient they must have abundant faith. With faith in authority and consequent readiness to be directed, naturally goes relatively little power of initiation. The habit of seeing everything officially controlled fosters the belief that official control is everywhere needful; while a course of life which makes personal causation familiar and negatives experience of impersonal causation, produces an inability to conceive of any social processes as carried on under self-regulating arrangements. And these traits of individual nature, needful concomitants as we see of the militant type, are those which we observe in the members of actual militant societies.



This chapter was originally published in the Contemporary Review for Sept., 1881. Since that date a further movement of German society in the same general direction has been shown by the pronounced absolutism of the imperial rescript of Jan., 1882, endorsing Prince Bismarck’s scheme of State-socialism.



Herbert Spencer, Chap. XVIII. “The Industrial Type of Society” (1882)

Editing History

  • Item added: 17 Sept. 2016
  • 1st Edit:


Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Sociology, in Three Volumes (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1898). Vol. 2.

  • Chap. XVIII. “The Industrial Type of Society” (1882) <>

Editor's Intro




§ 562. Having nearly always to defend themselves against external enemies, while they have to carry on internally the processes of sustentation, societies, as remarked in the last chapter, habitually present us with mixtures of the structures adapted to these diverse ends. Disentanglement is not easy. According as either structure predominates it ramifies through the other: instance the fact that where the militant type is much developed, the worker, ordinarily a slave, is no more free than the soldier; while, where the industrial type is much developed, the soldier, volunteering on specified terms, acquires in so far the position of a free worker. In the one case the system of status, proper to the fighting part, pervades the working part; while in the other the system of contract, proper to the working part, affects the fighting part. Especially does the organization adapted for war obscure that adapted for industry. While, as we have seen, the militant type as theoretically constructed, is so far displayed in many societies as to leave no doubt about its essential nature, the industrial type has its traits so hidden by those of the still-dominant militant type, that its nature is nowhere more than very partially exemplified. Saying thus much to exclude expectations which cannot be fulfilled, it will be well also to exclude certain probable misconceptions.

In the first place, industrialism must not be confounded with industriousness. Though the members of an industrially-organized society are habitually industrious, and are, indeed, when the society is a developed one, obliged to be so; yet it must not be assumed that the industrially-organized society is one in which, of necessity, much work is done. Where the society is small, and its habitat so favourable that life may be comfortably maintained with but little exertion, the social relations which characterize the industrial type may co-exist with but very moderate productive activities. It is not the diligence of its members which constitutes the society an industrial one in the sense here intended, but the form of cooperation under which their labours, small or great in amount, are carried on. This distinction will be best understood on observing that, conversely, there may be, and often is, great industry in societies framed on the militant type. In ancient Egypt there was an immense labouring population and a large supply of commodities, numerous in their kinds, produced by it. Still more did ancient Peru exhibit a vast community purely militant in its structure, the members of which worked unceasingly. We are here concerned, then, not with the quantity of labour but with the mode of organization of the labourers. A regiment of soldiers can be set to construct earth-works; another to cut down wood; another to bring in water; but they are not thereby reduced for the time being to an industrial society. The united individuals do these several things under command; and having no private claims to the products, are, though industrially occupied, not industrially organized. And the same holds throughout the militant society as a whole, in proportion as the regimentation of it approaches completeness.

The industrial type of society, properly so called, must also be distinguished from a type very likely to be confounded with it—the type, namely, in which the component individuals, while exclusively occupied in production and distribution, are under a regulation such as that advocated by socialists and communists. For this, too, involves in another form the principle of compulsory cooperation. Directly or indirectly, individuals are to be prevented from severally and independently occupying themselves as they please; are to be prevented from competing with one another in supplying goods for money; are to be prevented from hiring themselves out on such terms as they think fit. There can be no artificial system for regulating labour which does not interfere with the natural system. To such extent as men are debarred from making whatever engagements they like, they are to that extent working under dictation. No matter in what way the controlling agency is constituted, it stands towards those controlled in the same relation as does the controlling agency of a militant society. And how truly the régime which those who declaim against competition would establish, is thus characterized, we see both in the fact that communistic forms of organization existed in early societies which were predominantly warlike, and in the fact that at the present time communistic projects chiefly originate among, and are most favoured by, the more warlike societies.

A further preliminary explanation may be needful. The structures proper to the industrial type of society must not be looked for in distinct forms when they first appear. Contrariwise, we must expect them to begin in vague unsettled forms. Arising, as they do, by modification of pre-existing structures, they are necessarily long in losing all trace of these. For example, transition from the state in which the labourer, owned like a beast, is maintained that he may work exclusively for his master’s benefit, to the condition in which he is completely detached from master, soil, and locality, and free to work anywhere and for anyone, is through gradations. Again, the change from the arrangement proper to militancy, under which subject-persons receive, in addition to maintenance, occasional presents, to the arrangement under which, in place of both, they received fixed wages, or salaries, or fees, goes on slowly and unobtrusively. Once more it is observable that the process of exchange, originally indefinite, has become definite only where industrialism is considerably developed. Barter began, not with a distinct intention of giving one thing for another thing equivalent in value, but it began by making a present and receiving a present in return; and even now in the East there continue traces of this primitive transaction. In Cairo the purchase of articles from a shopkeeper is preceded by his offer of coffee and cigarettes; and during the negotiation which ends in the engagement of a dahabeah, the dragoman brings gifts and expects to receive them. Add to which that there exists under such conditions none of that definite equivalence which characterizes exchange among ourselves: prices are not fixed, but vary widely with every fresh transaction. So that throughout our interpretations we must keep in view the truth, that the structures and functions proper to the industrial type distinguish themselves but gradually from those proper to the militant type.

Having thus prepared the way, let us now consider what are, à priori, the traits of that social organization which, entirely unfitted for carrying on defence against external enemies, is exclusively fitted for maintaining the life of the society by subserving the lives of its units. As before in treating of the militant type, so here in treating of the industrial type, we will consider first its ideal form.

§ 563. While corporate action is the primary requirement in a society which has to preserve itself in presence of hostile societies, conversely, in the absence of hostile societies, corporate action is no longer the primary requirement.

The continued existence of a society implies, first, that it shall not be destroyed bodily by foreign foes, and implies, second, that it shall not be destroyed in detail by failure of its members to support and propagate themselves. If danger of destruction from the first cause ceases, there remains only danger of destruction from the second cause. Sustentation of the society will now be achieved by the self-sustentation and multiplication of its units. If his own welfare and the welfare of his offspring is fully achieved by each, the welfare of the society is by implication achieved. Comparatively little corporate activity is now required. Each man may maintain himself by labour, may exchange his products for the products of others, may give aid and receive payment, may enter into this or that combination for carrying on an undertaking, small or great, without the direction of the society as a whole. The remaining end to be achieved by public action is to keep private actions within due bounds; and the amount of public action needed for this becomes small in proportion as private actions become duly self-bounded.

So that whereas in the militant type the demand for corporate action is intrinsic, such demand for corporate action as continues in the industrial type is mainly extrinsic—is called for by those aggressive traits of human nature which chronic warfare has fostered, and may gradually diminish as, under enduring peaceful life, these decrease.

§ 564. In a society organized for militant action, the individuality of each member has to be so subordinated in life, liberty, and property, that he is largely, or completely, owned by the State; but in a society industrially organized, no such subordination of the individual is called for. There remain no occasions on which he is required to risk his life while destroying the lives of others; he is not forced to leave his occupation and submit to a commanding officer; and it ceases to be needful that he should surrender for public purposes whatever property is demanded of him.

Under the industrial régime the citizen’s individuality, instead of being sacrificed by the society, has to be defended by the society. Defence of his individuality becomes the society’s essential duty. That after external protection is no longer called for, internal protection must become the cardinal function of the State, and that effectual discharge of this function must be a predominant trait of the industrial type, may be readily shown.

For it is clear that, other things equal, a society in which life, liberty, and property, are secure, and all interests justly regarded, must prosper more than one in which they are not; and, consequently, among competing industrial societies, there must be a gradual replacing of those in which personal rights are imperfectly maintained, by those in which they are perfectly maintained. So that by survival of the fittest must be produced a social type in which individual claims, considered as sacred, are trenched on by the State no further than is requisite to pay the cost of maintaining them, or rather, of arbitrating among them. For the aggressiveness of nature fostered by militancy having died out, the corporate function becomes that of deciding between those conflicting claims, the equitable adjustment of which is not obvious to the persons concerned.

§ 565. With the absence of need for that corporate action by which the efforts of the whole society may be utilized for war, there goes the absence of need for a despotic controlling agency.

Not only is such an agency unnecessary, but it cannot exist. For since, as we see, it is an essential requirement of the industrial type, that the individuality of each man shall have the fullest play compatible with the like play of other men’s individualities, despotic control, showing itself as it must by otherwise restricting men’s individualities, is necessarily excluded. Indeed, by his mere presence an autocratic ruler is an aggressor on citizens. Actually or potentially exercising power not given by them, he in so far restrains their wills more than they would be restrained by mutual limitation merely.

§ 566. Such control as is required under the industrial type, can be exercised only by an appointed agency for ascertaining and executing the average will; and a representative agency is the one best fitted for doing this.

Unless the activities of all are homogeneous in kind, which they cannot be in a developed society with its elaborate division of labour, there arises a need for conciliation of divergent interests; and to the end of insuring an equitable adjustment, each interest must be enabled duly to express itself. It is, indeed, supposable that the appointed agency should be a single individual. But no such single individual could arbitrate justly among numerous classes variously occupied, without hearing evidence: each would have to send representatives setting forth its claims. Hence the choice would lie between two systems, under one of which the representatives privately and separately stated their cases to an arbitrator on whose single judgment decisions depended; and under the other of which these representatives stated their cases in one another’s presence, while judgments were openly determined by the general consensus. Without insisting on the fact that a fair balancing of class-interests is more likely to be effected by this last form of representation than by the first, it is sufficient to remark that it is more congruous with the nature of the industrial type; since men’s individualities are in the smallest degree trenched upon. Citizens who, appointing a single ruler for a prescribed time, may have a majority of their wills traversed by his during this time, surrender their individualities in a greater degree than do those who, from their local groups, depute a number of rulers; since these, speaking and acting under public inspection and mutually restrained, habitually conform their decisions to the wills of the majority.

§ 567. The corporate life of the society being no longer in danger, and the remaining business of government being that of maintaining the conditions requisite for the highest individual life, there comes the question—What are these conditions?

Already they have been implied as comprehended under the administration of justice; but so vaguely is the meaning of this phrase commonly conceived, that a more specific statement must be made. Justice then, as here to be understood, means preservation of the normal connexions between acts and results—the obtainment by each of as much benefit as his efforts are equivalent to—no more and no less. Living and working within the restraints imposed by one another’s presence, justice requires that individuals shall severally take the consequences of their conduct, neither increased nor decreased. The superior shall have the good of his superiority; and the inferior the evil of his inferiority. A veto is therefore put on all public action which abstracts from some men part of the advantages they have earned, and awards to other men advantages they have not earned.

That from the developed industrial type of society there are excluded all forms of communistic distribution, the inevitable trait of which is that they tend to equalize the lives of good and bad, idle and diligent, is readily proved. For when, the struggle for existence between societies by war having ceased, there remains only the industrial struggle for existence, the final survival and spread must be on the part of those societies which produce the largest number of the best individuals—individuals best adapted for life in the industrial state. Suppose two societies, otherwise equal, in one of which the superior are allowed to retain, for their own benefit and the benefit of their offspring, the entire proceeds of their labour; but in the other of which the superior have taken from them part of these proceeds for the benefit of the inferior and their offspring. Evidently the superior will thrive and multiply more in the first than in the second. A greater number of the best children will be reared in the first; and eventually it will outgrow the second. It must not be inferred that private and voluntary aid to the inferior is negatived, but only public and enforced aid. Whatever effects the sympathies of the better for the worse spontaneously produce, cannot, of course, be interfered with; and will, on the whole, be beneficial. For while, on the average, the better will not carry such efforts so far as to impede their own multiplication, they will carry them far enough to mitigate the ill-fortunes of the worse without helping them to multiply.

§ 568. Otherwise regarded, this system under which the efforts of each bring neither more nor less than their natural returns, is the system of contract.

We have seen that the régime of status is in all ways proper to the militant type. It is the concomitant of that graduated subordination by which the combined action of a fighting body is achieved, and which must pervade the fighting society at large to insure its corporate action. Under this régime, the relation between labour and produce is traversed by authority. As in the army, the food, clothing, &c., received by each soldier are not direct returns for work done, but are arbitrarily apportioned, while duties are arbitrarily enforced; so throughout the rest of the militant society, the superior dictates the labour and assigns such share of the returns as he pleases. But as, with declining militancy and growing industrialism, the power and range of authority decrease while uncontrolled action increases, the relation of contract becomes general; and in the fully-developed industrial type it becomes universal.

Under this universal relation of contract when equitably administered, there arises that adjustment of benefit to effort which the arrangements of the industrial society have to achieve. If each as producer, distributor, manager, adviser, teacher, or aider of other kind, obtains from his fellows such payment for his service as its value, determined by the demand, warrants; then there results that correct apportioning of reward to merit which ensures the prosperity of the superior.

§ 569. Again changing the point of view, we see that whereas public control in the militant type is both positively regulative and negatively regulative, in the industrial type it is negatively regulative only. To the slave, to the soldier, or to other member of a community organized for war, authority says—“Thou shalt do this; thou shalt not do that.” But to the member of the industrial community, authority gives only one of these orders—“Thou salt not do that.”

For people who, carrying on their private transactions by voluntary cooperation, also voluntarily cooperate to form and support a governmental agency, are, by implication, people who authorize it to impose on their respective activities, only those restraints which they are all interested in maintaining—the restraints which check aggressions. Omitting criminals (who under the assumed conditions must be very few, if not a vanishing quantity), each citizen will wish to preserve uninvaded his sphere of action, while not invading others’ spheres, and to retain whatever benefits are achieved within it. The very motive which prompts all to unite in upholding a public protector of their individualities, will also prompt them to unite in preventing any interference with their individualities beyond that required for this end.

Hence it follows that while, in the militant type, regimentation in the army is paralleled by centralized administration throughout the society at large; in the industrial type, administration, becoming decentralized, is at the same time narrowed in its range. Nearly all public organizations save that for administering justice, necessarily disappear; since they have the common character that they either aggress on the citizen by dictating his actions, or by taking from him more property than is needful for protecting him, or by both. Those who are forced to send their children to this or that school, those who have, directly or indirectly, to help in supporting a State priesthood, those from whom rates are demanded that parish officers may administer public charity, those who are taxed to provide gratis reading for people who will not save money for library subscriptions, those whose businesses are carried on under regulation by inspectors, those who have to pay the costs of State science-and-art-teaching, State emigration, &c., all have their individualities trenched upon, either by compelling them to do what they would not spontaneously do, or by taking away money which else would have furthered their private ends. Coercive arrangements of such kinds, consistent with the militant type, are inconsistent with the industrial type.

§ 570. With the relatively narrow range of public organizations, there goes, in the industrial type, a relatively wide range of private organizations. The spheres left vacant by the one are filled by the other.

Several influences conspire to produce this trait. Those motives which, in the absence of that subordination necessitated by war, make citizens unite in asserting their individualities subject only to mutual limitations, are motives which make them unite in resisting any interference with their freedom to form such private combinations as do not involve aggression. Moreover, beginning with exchanges of goods and services under agreements between individuals, the principle of voluntary cooperation is simply carried out in a larger way by individuals who, incorporating themselves, contract with one another for jointly pursuing this or that business or function. And yet again, there is entire congruity between the representative constitutions of such private combinations, and that representative constitution of the public combination which we see is proper to the industrial type. The same law of organization pervades the society in general and in detail. So that an inevitable trait of the industrial type is the multiplicity and heterogeneity of associations, political, religious, commercial, professional, philanthropic, and social, of all sizes.

§ 571. Two indirectly resulting traits of the industrial type must be added. The first is its relative plasticity.

So long as corporate action is necessitated for national self-preservation—so long as, to effect combined defence or offence, there is maintained that graduated subordination which ties all inferiors to superiors, as the soldier is tied to his officer—so long as there is maintained the relation of status, which tends to fix men in the positions they are severally born to; there is insured a comparative rigidity of social organization. But with the cessation of those needs that initiate and preserve the militant type of structure, and with the establishment of contract as the universal relation under which efforts are combined for mutual advantage, social organization loses its rigidity. No longer determined by the principle of inheritance, places and occupations are now determined by the principle of efficiency; and changes of structure follow when men, not bound to prescribed functions, acquire the functions for which they have proved themselves most fit. Easily modified in its arrangements, the industrial type of society is therefore one which adapts itself with facility to new requirements.

§ 572. The other incidental result to be named is a tendency towards loss of economic autonomy.

While hostile relations with adjacent societies continue, each society has to be productively self-sufficing; but with the establishment of peaceful relations, this need for self-sufficingness ceases. As the local divisions composing one of our great nations, had, while they were at feud, to produce each for itself almost everything it required, but now permanently at peace with one another, have become so far mutually dependent that no one of them can satisfy its wants without aid from the rest; so the great nations themselves, at present forced in large measure to maintain their economic autonomies, will become less forced to do this as war decreases, and will gradually become necessary to one another. While, on the one hand, the facilities possessed by each for certain kinds of production, will render exchange mutually advantageous; on the other hand, the citizen of each will, under the industrial régime, tolerate no such restraints on their individualities as are implied by interdicts on exchange or impediments to exchange.

With the spread of industrialism, therefore, the tendency is towards the breaking down of the divisions between nationalities, and the running through them of a common organization: if not under a single government, then under a federation of governments.

§ 573. Such being the constitution of the industrial type of society to be inferred from its requirements, we have now to inquire what evidence is furnished by actual societies that approach towards this constitution accompanies the progress of industrialism.

As, during the peopling of the Earth, the struggle for existence among societies, from small hordes up to great nations, has been nearly everywhere going on; it is, as before said, not to be expected that we should readily find examples of the social type appropriate to an exclusively industrial life. Ancient records join the journals of the day in proving that thus far no civilized or semi-civilized nation has fallen into circumstances making needless all social structures for resisting aggression; and from every region travellers’ accounts bring evidence that almost universally among the uncivilized, hostilities between tribes are chronic. Still, a few examples exist which show, with tolerable clearness, the outline of the industrial type in its rudimentary form—the form which it assumes where culture has made but little progress. We will consider these first; and then proceed to disentangle the traits distinctive of the industrial type as exhibited by large nations which have become predominantly industrial in their activities.

Among the Indian hills there are many tribes belonging to different races, but alike in their partially-nomadic habits. Mostly agricultural, their common practice is to cultivate a patch of ground while it yields average crops, and when it is exhausted to go elsewhere and repeat the process. They have fled before invading peoples, and have here and there found localities in which they are able to carry on their peaceful occupations unmolested: the absence of molestation being, in some cases, due to their ability to live in a malarious atmosphere which is fatal to the Aryan races. Already, under other heads, I have referred to the Bodo and to the Dhimáls as wholly unmilitary, as lacking political organization, as being without slaves or social grades, and as aiding one another in their heavier undertakings; to the Todas, who, leading tranquil lives, are “without any of those bonds of union which man in general is induced to form from a sense of danger,” and who settle their disputes by arbitration or by a council of five; to the Mishmies as being unwarlike, as having but nominal chiefs, and as administering justice by an assembly; and I have joined with these the case of a people remote in locality and race—the ancient Pueblos of North America—who, sheltering in their walled villages and fighting only when invaded, similarly united with their habitually industrial life a free form of government: “the governor and his council are [were] annually elected by the people.” Here I may add sundry kindred examples. As described in the Indian Government Report for 1869—70, “the ‘white Karens’ are of a mild and peaceful disposition, . . . their chiefs are regarded as patriarchs, who have little more than a nominal authority;” or, as said of them by Lieut. McMahon, “they possess neither laws nor dominant authority.” Instance, again, the “fascinating” Lepchas; not industrious, but yet industrial in the sense that their social relations are of the non-militant type. Though I find nothing specific said about the system under which they live in their temporary villages; yet the facts told us sufficiently imply its uncoercive character. They have no castes; “family and political feuds are alike unheard of amongst them;” “they are averse to soldiering;” they prefer taking refuge in the jungle and living on wild food “to enduring any injustice or harsh treatment”—traits which negative ordinary political control. Take next the “quiet, unoffensive” Santals, who, while they fight if need be with infatuated bravery to resist aggression, are essentially unaggressive. These people “are industrious cultivators, and enjoy their existence unfettered by caste.” Though, having become tributaries, there habitually exists in each village a head appointed by the Indian Government to be responsible for the tribute, &c.; yet the nature of their indigenous government remains sufficiently clear. While there is a patriarch who is honoured, but who rarely interferes, “every village has its council place, . . . where the committee assemble and discuss the affairs of the village and its inhabitants. All petty disputes, both of a civil and criminal nature, are settled there.” What little is told us of tribes living in the Shervaroy Hills is, so far as it goes, to like effect. Speaking generally of them, Shortt says they “are essentially a timid and harmless people, addicted chiefly to pastoral and agricultural pursuits;” and more specifically describing one division of them, he says “they lead peaceable lives among themselves, and any dispute that may arise is usually settled by arbitration.” Then, to show that these social traits are not peculiar to any one variety of man, but are dependent on conditions, I may recall the before-named instance of the Papuan Arafuras, who, without any divisions of rank or hereditary chieftainships, live in harmony, controlled only by the decisions of their assembled elders. In all which cases we may discern the leading traits above indicated as proper to societies not impelled to corporate action by war. Strong centralized control not being required, such government as exists is exercised by a council, informally approved—a rude representative government; class-distinctions do not exist, or are but faintly indicated—the relation of status is absent; whatever transactions take place between individuals are by agreement; and the function which the ruling body has to perform, becomes substantially limited to protecting private life by settling such disputes as arise, and inflicting mild punishments for small offences.

Difficulties meet us when, turning to civilized societies, we seek in them for traits of the industrial type. Consolidated and organized as they have all been by wars actively carried on throughout the earlier periods of their existence, and mostly continued down to recent times; and having simultaneously been developing within themselves organizations for producing and distributing commodities, which have little by little become contrasted with those proper to militant activities; the two are everywhere presented so mingled that clear separation of the first from the last is, as said at the outset, scarcely practicable. Radically opposed, however, as is compulsory cooperation, the organizing principle of the militant type, to voluntary cooperation, the organizing principle of the industrial type, we may, by observing the decline of institutions exhibiting the one, recognize, by implication, the growth of institutions exhibiting the other. Hence if, in passing from the first states of civilized nations in which war is the business of life, to states in which hostilities are but occasional, we simultaneously pass to states in which the ownership of the individual by his society is not so constantly and strenuously enforced, in which the subjection of rank to rank is mitigated, in which political rule is no longer autocratic, in which the regulation of citizens’ lives is diminished in range and rigour, while the protection of them is increased; we are, by implication, shown the traits of a developing industrial type. Comparisons of several kinds disclose results which unite in verifying this truth.

Take, first, the broad contrast between the early condition of the more civilized European nations at large, and their later condition. Setting out from the dissolution of the Roman empire, we observe that for many centuries during which conflicts were effecting consolidations, and dissolutions, and re-consolidations in endless variety, such energies as were not directly devoted to war were devoted to little else than supporting the organizations which carried on war: the working part of each community did not exist for its own sake, but for the sake of the fighting part. While militancy was thus high and industrialism undeveloped, the reign of superior strength, continually being established by societies one over another, was equally displayed within each society. From slaves and serfs, through vassals of different grades up to dukes and kings, there was an enforced subordination by which the individualities of all were greatly restricted. And at the same time that, to carry on external aggression or resistance, the ruling power in each group sacrificed the personal claims of its members, the function of defending its members from one another was in but small degree discharged by it: they were left to defend themselves. If with these traits of European societies in mediæval times, we compare their traits in modern times, we see the following essential differences. First, with the formation of nations covering large areas, the perpetual wars within each area have ceased; and though the wars between nations which from time to time occur are on larger scales, they are less frequent, and they are no longer the business of all freemen. Second, there has grown up in each country a relatively large population which carries on production and distribution for its own maintenance; so that whereas of old, the working part existed for the benefit of the fighting part, now the fighting part exists mainly for the benefit of the working part—exists ostensibly to protect it in the quiet pursuit of its ends. Third, the system of status, having under some of its forms disappeared and under others become greatly mitigated, has been almost universally replaced by the system of contract. Only among those who, by choice or by conscription, are incorporated in the military organization, does the system of status in its primitive rigour still hold so long as they remain in this organization. Fourth, with this decrease of compulsory cooperation and increase of voluntary cooperation, there have diminished or ceased many minor restraints over individual actions. Men are less tied to their localities than they were; they are not obliged to profess certain religious opinions; they are less debarred from expressing their political views; they no longer have their dresses and modes of living dictated to them; they are comparatively little restrained from forming private combinations and holding meetings for one or other purpose—political, religious, social. Fifth, while the individualities of citizens are less aggressed upon by public agency, they are more protected by public agency against aggression. Instead of a régime under which individuals rectified their private wrongs by force as well as they could, or else bribed the ruler, general or local, to use his power in their behalf, there has come a régime under which, while much less self-protection is required, a chief function of the ruling power and its agents is to administer justice. In all ways, then, we are shown that with this relative decrease of militancy and relative increase of industrialism, there has been a change from a social order in which individuals exist for the benefit of the State, to a social order in which the State exists for the benefit of individuals.

When, instead of contrasting early European communities at large with European communities at large as they now exist, we contrast the one in which industrial development has been less impeded by militancy with those in which it has been more impeded by militancy, parallel results are apparent. Between our own society and continental societies, as for example, France, the differences which have gradually arisen may be cited in illustration. After the conquering Normans had spread over England, there was established here a much greater subordination of local rulers to the general ruler than existed in France; and, as a result, there was not nearly so much internal dissension. Says Hallam, speaking of this period, “we read very little of private wars in England.” Though from time to time, as under Stephen, there were rebellions, and though there were occasional fights between nobles, yet for some hundred and fifty years, up to the time of King John, the subjection maintained secured comparative order. Further, it is to be noted that such general wars as occurred were mostly carried on abroad. Descents on our coasts were few and unimportant, and conflicts with Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, entailed but few intrusions on English soil. Consequently, there was a relatively small hindrance to industrial life and the growth of social forms appropriate to it. Meanwhile, the condition of France was widely different. During this period and long after, besides wars with England (mostly fought out on French soil) and wars with other countries, there were going on everywhere local wars. From the 10th to the 14th century perpetual fights between suzerains and their vassals occurred, as well as fights of vassals with one another. Not until towards the middle of the 14th century did the king begin greatly to predominate over the nobles; and only in the 15th century was there established a supreme ruler strong enough to prevent the quarrels of local rulers. How great was the repression of industrial development caused by internal conflicts, may be inferred from the exaggerated language of an old writer, who says of this period, during which the final struggle of monarchy with feudalism was going on, that “agriculture, traffic, and all the mechanical arts ceased.” Such being the contrast between the small degree in which industrial life was impeded by war in England, and the great degree in which it was impeded by war in France, let us ask—what were the political contrasts which arose. The first fact to be noted is that in the middle of the 13th century there began in England a mitigation of villeinage, by limitation of labour-services and commutation of them for money, and that in the 14th century the transformation of a servile into a free population had in great measure taken place; while in France, as in other continental countries, the old condition survived and became worse. As Mr. Freeman says of this period—“in England villeinage was on the whole dying out, while in many other countries it was getting harder and harder.” Besides this spreading substitution of contract for status, which, taking place first in the industrial centres, the towns, afterwards went on in the rural districts, there was going on an analogous enfranchisement of the noble class. The enforced military obligations of vassals were more and more replaced by money payments or scutages; so that by King John’s time, the fighting services of the upper class had been to a great extent compounded for, like the labour services of the lower class. After diminished restraints over persons, there came diminished invasions of property. By the Charter, arbitrary tallages on towns and non-military king’s tenants were checked; and while the aggressive actions of the State were thus decreased, its protective actions were extended: provisions were made that justice should be neither sold, delayed, nor denied. All which changes were towards those social arrangements which we see characterize the industrial type. Then, in the next place, we have the subsequently-occurring rise of a representative government; which, as shown in a preceding chapter by another line of inquiry, is at once the product of industrial growth and the form proper to the industrial type. But in France none of these changes took place. Villeinage remaining unmitigated continued to comparatively late times; compounding for military obligation of vassal to suzerain was less general; and when there arose tendencies towards the establishment of an assembly expressing the popular will, they proved abortive. Detailed comparisons of subsequent periods and their changes would detain us too long: it must suffice to indicate the leading facts. Beginning with the date at which, under the influences just indicated, parliamentary government was finally established in England, we find that for a century and a half, down to the Wars of the Roses, the internal disturbances were few and unimportant compared with those which took place in France; and at the same time (remembering that the wars between England and France, habitually taking place on French soil, affected the state of France more than that of England) we note that France carried on serious wars with Flanders, Castille and Navarre besides the struggle with Burgundy: the result being that while in England popular power as expressed by the House of Commons became settled and increased, such power as the States General had acquired in France, dwindled away. Not forgetting that by the Wars of the Roses, lasting over thirty years, there was initiated a return towards absolutism; let us contemplate the contrasts which subsequently arose. For a century and a half after these civil conflicts ended, there were but few and trivial breaches of internal peace; while such wars as went on with foreign powers, not numerous, took place as usual out of England. During this period the retrograde movement which the Wars of the Roses set up, was reversed, and popular power greatly increased; so that in the words of Mr. Bagehot, “the slavish parliament of Henry VIII. grew into the murmuring parliament of Queen Elizabeth, the mutinous parliament of James I., and the rebellious parliament of Charles I.” Meanwhile France, during the first third of this period, had been engaged in almost continuous external wars with Italy, Spain, and Austria; while during the remaining two-thirds, it suffered from almost continuous internal wars, religious and political: the accompanying result being that, notwithstanding resistances from time to time made, the monarchy became increasingly despotic. Fully to make manifest the different social types which had been evolved under these different conditions, we have to compare not only the respective political constitutions but also the respective systems of social control. Observe what these were at the time when there commenced that reaction which ended in the French revolution. In harmony with the theory of the militant type, that the individual is in life, liberty, and property, owned by the State, the monarch was by some held to be the universal proprietor. The burdens he imposed upon landowners were so grievous that a part of them preferred abandoning their estates to paying. Then besides the taking of property by the State, there was the taking of labour. One-fourth of the working days in the year went to the corvées, due now to the king and now to the feudal lord. Such liberties as were allowed, had to be paid for and again paid for: the municipal privileges of towns being seven times in twenty-eight years withdrawn and re-sold to them. Military services of nobles and people were imperative to whatever extent the king demanded; and conscripts were drilled under the lash. At the same time that the subjection of the individual to the State was pushed to such an extreme by exactions of money and services that the impoverished people cut the grain while it was green, ate grass, and died of starvation in multitudes, the State did little to guard their persons and homes. Contemporary writers enlarge on the immense numbers of highway robberies, burglaries, assassinations, and torturings of people to discover their hoards. Herds of vagabonds, levying blackmail, roamed about; and when, as a remedy, penalties were imposed, innocent persons denounced as vagabonds were sent to prison without evidence. No personal security could be had either against the ruler or against powerful enemies. In Paris there were some thirty prisons where untried and unsentenced people might be incarcerated; and the “brigandage of justice” annually cost suitors forty to sixty millions of francs. While the State, aggressing on citizens to such extremes, thus failed to protect them against one another, it was active in regulating their private lives and labours. Religion was dictated to the extent that Protestants were imprisoned, sent to the galleys, or whipped, and their ministers hanged. The quantity of salt (on which there was a heavy tax) to be consumed by each person was prescribed; as were also the modes of its use. Industry of every kind was supervised. Certain crops were prohibited; and vines destroyed that were on soils considered unfit. The wheat that might be bought at market was limited to two bushels; and sales took place in presence of dragoons. Manufacturers were regulated in their processes and products to the extent that there was destruction of improved appliances and of goods not made according to law, as well as penalties upon inventors. Regulations succeeded one another so rapidly that amid their multiplicity, government agents found it difficult to carry them out; and with increasing official orders there came increasing swarms of public functionaries. Turning now to England at the same period, we see that along with progress towards the industrial type of political structure, carried to the extent that the House of Commons had become the predominant power, there had gone a progress towards the accompanying social system. Though the subjection of the individual to the State was considerably greater than now, it was far less than in France. His private rights were not sacrificed in the same unscrupulous way; and he was not in danger of a lettre de cachet. Though justice was very imperfectly administered, still it was not administered so wretchedly: there was a fair amount of personal security, and aggressions on property were kept within bounds. The disabilities of Protestant dissenters were diminished early in the century; and, later on, those of Catholics. Considerable freedom of the press was acquired, showing itself in the discussion of political questions, as well as in the publication of parliamentary debates; and, about the same time, there came free speech in public meetings. While thus the State aggressed on the individual less and protected him more, it interfered to a smaller extent with his daily transactions. Though there was much regulation of commerce and industry, yet it was pushed to no such extreme as that which in France subjected agriculturists, manufacturers, and merchants, to an army of officials who directed their acts at every turn. In brief, the contrast between our state and that of France was such as to excite the surprise and admiration of various French writers of the time; from whom Mr. Buckle quotes numerous passages showing this.

Most significant of all, however, are the changes in England itself, first retrogressive and then progressive, that occurred during the war-period which extended from 1775 to 1815, and during the subsequent period of peace. At the end of the last century and the beginning of this, reversion towards ownership of the individual by the society had gone a long way. “To statesmen, the State, as a unit, was all in all, and it is really difficult to find any evidence that the people were thought of at all, except in the relation of obedience.” “The Government regarded the people with little other view than as a taxable and soldier-yielding mass.” While the militant part of the community had greatly developed, the industrial part had approached towards the condition of a permanent commissariat. By conscription and by press-gangs, was carried to a relatively vast extent that sacrifice of the citizen in life and liberty which war entails; and the claims to property were trenched on by merciless taxation, weighing down the middle classes so grievously that they had greatly to lower their rate of living, while the people at large were so distressed (partly no doubt by bad harvests) that “hundreds ate nettles and other weeds.” With these major aggressions upon the individual by the State, went numerous minor aggressions. Irresponsible agents of the executive were empowered to suppress public meetings and seize their leaders: death being the punishment for those who did not disperse when ordered. Libraries and news-rooms could not be opened without licence; and it was penal to lend books without permission. There were “strenuous attempts made to silence the press;” and booksellers dared not publish works by obnoxious authors. “Spies were paid, witnesses were suborned, juries were packed, and the habeas corpus Act being constantly suspended, the Crown had the power of imprisoning without inquiry and without limitation.” While the Government taxed and coerced and restrained the citizen to this extent, its protection of him was inefficient. It is true that the penal code was made more extensive and more severe. The definition of treason was enlarged, and numerous offences were made capital which were not capital before; so that there was “a vast and absurd variety of offences for which men and women were sentenced to death by the score:” there was “a devilish levity in dealing with human life.” But at the same time there was not an increase, but rather a decrease, of security. As says Mr. Pike in his History of Crime in England, “it became apparent that the greater the strain of the conflict the greater is the danger of a reaction towards violence and lawlessness.” Turn now to the opposite picture. After recovery from the prostration which prolonged wars had left, and after the dying away of those social perturbations caused by impoverishment, there began a revival of traits proper to the industrial type. Coercion of the citizen by the State decreased in various ways. Voluntary enlistment replaced compulsory military service; and there disappeared some minor restraints over personal freedom, as instance the repeal of laws which forbade artizans to travel where they pleased, and which interdicted trades-unions. With these manifestations of greater respect for personal freedom, may be joined those shown in the amelioration of the penal code: the public whipping of females being first abolished; then the long list of capital offences being reduced until there finally remained but one; and, eventually, the pillory and imprisonment for debt being abolished. Such penalties on religious independence as remained disappeared; first by removal of those directed against Protestant Dissenters, and then of those which weighed on Catholics, and then of some which told specially against Quakers and Jews. By the Parliamentary Reform Bill and the Municipal Reform Bill, vast numbers were removed from the subject classes to the governing classes. Interferences with the business-transactions of citizens were diminished by allowing free trade in bullion, by permitting joint-stock banks, by abolishing multitudinous restrictions on the importation of commodities—leaving eventually but few which pay duty. Moreover while these and kindred changes, such as the removal of restraining burdens on the press, decreased the impediments to free actions of citizens, the protective action of the State was increased. By a greatly-improved police system, by county courts, and so forth, personal safety and claims to property were better secured.

Not to elaborate the argument further by adding the case of the United States, which repeats with minor differences the same relations of phenomena, the evidence given adequately supports the proposition laid down. Amid all the complexities and perturbations, comparisons show us with sufficient clearness that in actually-existing societies those attributes which we inferred must distinguish the industrial type, show themselves clearly in proportion as the social activities are predominantly characterized by exchange of services under agreement.

§ 574. As, in the last chapter, we noted the traits of character proper to the members of a society which is habitually at war; so here, we have to note the traits of character proper to the members of a society occupied exclusively in peaceful pursuits. Already in delineating above, the rudiments of the industrial type of social structure as exhibited in certain small groups of unwarlike peoples, some indications of the accompanying personal qualities have been given; but it will be well now to emphasize these and add to them, before observing the kindred personal qualities in more advanced industrial communities.

Absence of a centralized coercive rule, implying as it does feeble political restraints exercised by the society over its units, is accompanied by a strong sense of individual freedom, and a determination to maintain it. The amiable Bodo and Dhimáls, as we have seen, resist “injunctions injudiciously urged with dogged obstinacy.” The peaceful Lepchas “undergo great privations rather than submit to oppression or injustice.” The “simple-minded Santáls” has a “strong natural sense of justice, and should any attempt be made to coerce him, he flies the country.” Similarly of a tribe not before mentioned, the Jakuns of the South Malayan Peninsula, who, described as “entirely inoffensive,” personally brave but peaceful, and as under no control but that of popularly-appointed heads who settle their disputes, are also described as “extremely proud:” the so-called pride being exemplified by the statement that their remarkably good qualities “induced several persons to make attempts to domesticate them, but such essays have generally ended in the Jakuns’ disappearance on the slightest coercion.”

With a strong sense of their own claims, these unwarlike men display unusual respect for the claims of others. This is shown in the first place by the rarity of personal collisions among them. Hodgson says that the Bodo and the Dhimáls “are void of all violence towards their own people or towards their neighbours.” Of the peaceful tribes of the Neilgherry Hills, Colonel Ouchterlony writes:—“drunkenness and violence are unknown amongst them.” Campbell remarks of the Lepchas, that “they rarely quarrel among themselves.” The Jakuns, too, “have very seldom quarrels among themselves;” and such disputes as arise are settled by their popularly-chosen heads “without fighting or malice.” In like manner the Arafuras “live in peace and brotherly love with one another.” Further, in the accounts of these peoples we read nothing about the lex talionis. In the absence of hostilities with adjacent groups there does not exist within each group that “sacred duty of blood-revenge” universally recognized in military tribes and nations. Still more significantly, we find evidence of the opposite doctrine and practice. Says Campbell of the Lepchas—“they are singularly forgiving of injuries . . . making mutual amends and concessions.”

Naturally, with respect for others’ individualities thus shown, goes respect for their claims to property. Already in the preliminary chapter I have quoted testimonies to the great honesty of the Bodo and the Dhimáls, the Lepchas, the Santáls, the Todas, and other peoples kindred in their form of social life; and here I may add further ones. Of the Lepchas, Hooker remarks:—“in all my dealings with these people, they proved scrupulously honest.” “Among the pure Santáls,” writes Hunter, “crime and criminal officers are unknown;” while of the Hos, belonging to the same group as the Sántals, Dalton says, “a reflection on a man’s honesty or veracity may be sufficient to send him to self-destruction.” Shortt testifies that “the Todas, as a body, have never been convicted of heinous crimes of any kind;” and concerning other tribes of the Shervaroy Hills, he states that “crime of a serious nature is unknown amongst them.” Again of the Jakuns we read that “they are never known to steal anything, not even the most insignificant trifle.” And so of certain natives of Malacca who “are naturally of a commercial turn,” Jukes writes:—“no part of the world is freer from crime than the district of Malacca;” “a few petty cases of assault, or of disputes about property . . . are all that occur.”

Thus free from the coercive rule which warlike activities necessitate, and without the sentiment which makes the needful subordination possible—thus maintaining their own claims while respecting the like claims of others—thus devoid of the vengeful feelings which aggressions without and within the tribe generate; these peoples, instead of the bloodthirstiness, the cruelty, the selfish trampling upon inferiors, characterizing militant tribes and societies, display, in unusual degrees, the humane sentiments. Insisting on their amiable qualities, Hodgson describes the Bodo and the Dhimáls as being “almost entirely free from such as are unamiable.” Remarking that “while courteous and hospitable he is firm and free from cringing,” Hunter tells us of the Santál that he thinks “uncharitable men” will suffer after death. Saying that the Lepchas are “ever foremost in the forest or on the bleak mountain, and ever ready to help, to carry, to encamp, collect, or cook,” Hooker adds—“they cheer on the traveller by their unostentatious zeal in his service;” and he also adds that, “a present is divided equally amongst many, without a syllable of discontent or grudging look or word.” Of the Jakuns, too, Favre tells us that “they are generally kind, affable, inclined to gratitude and to beneficence:” their tendency being not to ask favours but to confer them. And then of the peaceful Arafuras we learn from Kolff that—

“They have a very excusable ambition to gain the name of rich men, by paying the debts of their poorer villagers. The officer [M. Bik], whom I quoted above, related to me a very striking instance of this. At Affara he was present at the election of the village chiefs, two individuals aspiring to the station of Orang Tua. The people chose the elder of the two, which greatly afflicted the other, but he soon afterwards expressed himself satisfied with the choice the people had made, and said to M. Bik, who had been sent there on a commission, ‘What reason have I to grieve; whether I am Orang Tua or not, I still have it in my power to assist my fellow villagers.’ Several old men agreed to this, apparently to comfort him. Thus the only use they make of their riches is to employ it in settling differences.”

With these superiorities of the social relations in permanently peaceful tribes, go superiorities of the domestic relations. As I have before pointed out (§ 327), while the status of women is habitually very low in tribes given to war and in more advanced militant societies, it is habitually very high in these primitive peaceful societies. The Bodo and the Dhimáls, the Kocch, the Santáls, the Lepchas, are monogamic, as were also the Pueblos; and along with their monogamy habitually goes a superior sexual morality. Of the Lepchas Hooker says—“the females are generally chaste, and the marriage tie is strictly kept.” Among the Santáls “unchastity is almost unknown,” and “divorce is rare.” By the Bodo and the Dhimáls, “polygamy, concubinage and adultery are not tolerated;” “chastity is prized in man and woman, married and unmarried.” Further it is to be noted that the behaviour to women is extremely good. “The Santál treats the female members of his family with respect;” the Bodo and the Dhimáls “treat their wives and daughters with confidence and kindness; they are free from all out-door work whatever.” And even among the Todas, low as are the forms of their sexual relations, “the wives are treated by their husbands with marked respect and attention.” Moreover, we are told concerning sundry of these unwarlike peoples that the status of children is also high; and there is none of that distinction of treatment between boys and girls which characterizes militant peoples.

Of course on turning to the civilized to observe the form of individual character which accompanies the industrial form of society, we encounter the difficulty that the personal traits proper to industrialism, are, like the social traits, mingled with those proper to militancy. It is manifestly thus with ourselves. A nation which, besides its occasional serious wars, is continually carrying on small wars with uncivilized tribes—a nation which is mainly ruled in Parliament and through the press by men whose school-discipline led them during six days in the week to take Achilles for their hero, and on the seventh to admire Christ—a nation which, at its public dinners, habitually toasts its army and navy before toasting its legislative bodies; has not so far emerged out of militancy that we can expect either the institutions or the characteristics proper to industrialism to be shown with clearness. In independence, in honesty, in truthfulness, in humanity, its citizens are not likely to be the equals of the uncultured but peaceful peoples above described. All we may anticipate is an approach to those moral qualities appropriate to a state undisturbed by international hostilities; and this we find.

In the first place, with progress of the régime of contract has come growth of independence. Daily exchange of services under agreement, involving at once the maintenance of personal claims and respect for the claims of others, has fostered a normal self-assertion and consequent resistance to unauthorized power. The facts that the word “independence,” in its modern sense, was not in use among us before the middle of the last century, and that on the continent independence is less markedly displayed, suggest the connexion between this trait and a developing industrialism. The trait is shown in the multitudinousness of religious sects, in the divisions of political parties, and, in minor ways, by the absence of those “schools” in art, philosophy, &c., which, among continental peoples, are formed by the submission of disciples to an adopted master. That Englishmen show, more than their neighbours, a jealousy of dictation, and a determination to act as they think fit, will not, I think, be disputed.

The diminished subordination to authority, which is the obverse of this independence, of course implies decrease of loyalty. Worship of the monarch, at no time with us reaching the height it did in France early in the last century, or in Russia down to recent times, has now changed into a respect depending very much on the monarch’s personal character. Our days witness no such extreme servilities of expression as were used by ecclesiastics in the dedication of the Bible to King James, nor any such exaggerated adulations as those addressed to George III. by the House of Lords. The doctrine of divine right has long since died away; belief in an indwelling supernatural power (implied by the touching for king’s evil, &c.) is named as a curiosity of the past; and the monarchical institution has come to be defended on grounds of expediency. So great has been the decrease of this sentiment which, under the militant régime, attaches subject to ruler, that now-a-days the conviction commonly expressed is that, should the throne be occupied by a Charles II. or a George IV., there would probably result a republic. And this change of feeling is shown in the attitude towards the Government as a whole. For not only are there many who dispute the authority of the State in respect of sundry matters besides religious beliefs, but there are some who passively resist what they consider unjust exercises of its authority, and pay fines or go to prison rather than submit.

As this last fact implies, along with decrease of loyalty has gone decrease of faith, not in monarchs only but in governments. Such belief in royal omnipotence as existed in ancient Egypt, where the power of the ruler was supposed to extend to the other world, as it is even now supposed to do in China, has had no parallel in the West; but still, among European peoples in past times, that confidence in the soldier-king essential to the militant type, displayed itself among other ways in exaggerated conceptions of his ability to rectify mischiefs, achieve benefits, and arrange things as he willed. If we compare present opinion among ourselves with opinion in early days, we find a decline in these credulous expectations. Though, during the late retrograde movement towards militancy, State-power has been invoked for various ends, and faith in it has increased; yet, up to the commencement of this reaction, a great change had taken place in the other direction. After the repudiation of a State-enforced creed, there came a denial of the State’s capacity for determining religious truth, and a growing movement to relieve it from the function of religious teaching; held to be alike needless and injurious. Long ago it had ceased to be thought that Government could do any good by regulating people’s food, clothing, and domestic habits; and over the multitudinous processes carried on by producers and distributors, constituting immensely the larger part of our social activities, we no longer believe that legislative dictation is beneficial. Moreover, every newspaper by its criticisms on the acts of ministers and the conduct of the House of Commons, betrays the diminished faith of citizens in their rulers. Nor is it only by contrasts between past and present among ourselves that we are shown this trait of a more developed industrial state. It is shown by kindred contrasts between opinion here and opinion abroad. The speculations of social reformers in France and in Germany, prove that the hope for benefits to be achieved by State-agency is far higher with them than with us.

Along with decrease of loyalty and concomitant decrease of faith in the powers of governments, has gone decrease of patriotism—patriotism, that is, under its original form. To fight “for king and country” is an ambition which now-a-days occupies but a small space in men’s minds; and though there is among us a majority whose sentiment is represented by the exclamation—“Our country, right or wrong!” yet there are large numbers whose desire for human welfare at large, so far overrides their desire for national prestige, that they object to sacrificing the first to the last. The spirit of self-criticism, which in sundry respects leads us to make unfavourable comparisons between ourselves and our continental neighbours, leads us more than heretofore to blame ourselves for wrong conduct to weaker peoples. The many and strong reprobations of our dealings with the Afghans, the Zulus, and the Boers, show that there is a large amount of the feeling reprobated by the “Jingo”-class as unpatriotic.

That adaptation of individual nature to social needs, which, in the militant state, makes men glory in war and despise peaceful pursuits, has partially brought about among us a converse adjustment of the sentiments. The occupation of the soldier has ceased to be so much honoured, and that of the civilian is more honoured. During the forty years’ peace, the popular sentiment became such that “soldiering” was spoken of contemptuously; and those who enlisted, habitually the idle and the dissolute, were commonly regarded as having completed their disgrace. Similarly in America before the late civil war, such small military gatherings and exercises as from time to time occurred, excited general ridicule. Meanwhile we see that labours, bodily and mental, useful to self and others, have come to be not only honourable but in a considerable degree imperative. In America the adverse comments on a man who does nothing, almost force him into some active pursuit; and among ourselves the respect for industrial life has become such that men of high rank put their sons into business.

While, as we saw, the compulsory cooperation proper to militancy, forbids, or greatly discourages, individual initiative, the voluntary cooperation which distinguishes industrialism, gives free scope to individual initiative, and develops it by letting enterprise bring its normal advantages. Those who are successfully original in idea and act, prospering and multiplying in a greater degree than others, produce, in course of time, a general type of nature ready to undertake new things. The speculative tendencies of English and American capitalists, and the extent to which large undertakings, both at home and abroad, are carried out by them, sufficiently indicate this trait of character. Though, along with considerable qualifications of militancy by industrialism on the continent, there has occurred there, too, an extension of private enterprise; yet the fact that while many towns in France and Germany have been supplied with gas and water by English companies, there is in England but little of kindred achievement by foreign companies, shows that among the more industrially-modified English, individual initiative is more decided.

There is evidence that the decline of international hostilities, associated as it is with the decline of hostilities between families and between individuals, is followed by a weakening of revengeful sentiments. This is implied by the fact that in our own country the more serious of these private wars early ceased, leaving only the less serious in the form of duels, which also have at length ceased: their cessation coinciding with the recent great development of industrial life—a fact with which may be joined the fact that in the more militant societies, France and Germany, they have not ceased. So much among ourselves has the authority of the lex talionis waned, that a man whose actions are known to be prompted by the wish for vengeance on one who has injured him, is reprobated rather than applauded.

With decrease of the aggressiveness shown in acts of violence and consequent acts of retaliation, has gone decrease of the aggressiveness shown in criminal acts at large. That this change has been a concomitant of the change from a more militant to a more industrial state, cannot be doubted by one who studies the history of crime in England. Says Mr. Pike in his work on that subject, “the close connexion between the military spirit and those actions which are now legally defined to be crimes, has been pointed out, again and again, in the course of this history.” If we compare a past age in which the effects of hostile activities had been less qualified by the effects of peaceful activities than they are in our own age, we see a marked contrast in respect of the numbers and kinds of offences against person and property. We have no longer any English buccaneers; wreckers have ceased to be heard of; and travellers do not now prepare themselves to meet highwaymen. Moreover, that flagitiousness of the governing agencies themselves, which was shown by the venality of ministers and members of Parliament, and by the corrupt administration of justice, has disappeared. With decreasing amount of crime has come increasing reprobation of crime. Biographies of pirate captains, suffused with admiration of their courage, no longer find a place in our literature; and the sneaking kindness for “gentlemen of the road,” is, in our days, but rarely displayed. Many as are the transgressions which our journals report, they have greatly diminished; and though in trading transactions there is much dishonesty (chiefly of the indirect sort) it needs but to read Defoe’s English Tradesman, to see how marked has been the improvement since his time. Nor must we forget that the change of character which has brought a decrease of unjust actions, has brought an increase of beneficent actions; as seen in paying for slave-emancipation, in nursing the wounded soldiers of our fighting neighbours, in philanthropic efforts of countless kinds.

§ 575. As with the militant type then, so with the industrial type, three lines of evidence converge to show us its essential nature. Let us set down briefly the several results, that we may observe the correspondences among them.

On considering what must be the traits of a society organized exclusively for carrying on internal activities, so as most efficiently to subserve the lives of citizens, we find them to be these. A corporate action subordinating individual actions by uniting them in joint effort, is no longer requisite. Contrariwise, such corporate action as remains has for its end to guard individual actions against all interferences not necessarily entailed by mutual limitations: the type of society in which this function is best discharged, being that which must survive, since it is that of which the members will most prosper. Excluding, as the requirements of the industrial type do, a despotic controlling agency, they imply, as the only congruous agency for achieving such corporate action as is needed, one formed of representatives who serve to express the aggregate will. The function of this controlling agency, generally defined as that of administering justice, is more specially defined as that of seeing that each citizen gains neither more nor less of benefit than his activities normally bring; and there is thus excluded all public action involving any artificial distribution of benefits. The régime of status proper to militancy having disappeared, the régime of contract which replaces it has to be universally enforced; and this negatives interferences between efforts and results by arbitrary apportionment. Otherwise regarded, the industrial type is distinguished from the militant type as being not both positively regulative and negatively regulative, but as being negatively regulative only. With this restricted sphere for corporate action comes an increased sphere for individual action; and from that voluntary cooperation which is the fundamental principle of the type, arise multitudinous private combinations, akin in their structures to the public combination of the society which includes them. Indirectly it results that a society of the industrial type is distinguished by plasticity; and also that it tends to lose its economic autonomy, and to coalesce with adjacent societies.

The question next considered was, whether these traits of the industrial type as arrived at by deduction are inductively verified; and we found that in actual societies they are visible more or less clearly in proportion as industrialism is more or less developed. Glancing at those small groups of uncultured people who, wholly unwarlike, display the industrial type in its rudimentary form, we went on to compare the structures of European nations at large in early days of chronic militancy, with their structures in modern days characterized by progressing industrialism; and we saw the differences to be of the kind implied. We next compared two of these societies, France and England, which were once in kindred states, but of which the one has had its industrial life much more repressed by its militant life than the other; and it became manifest that the contrasts which, age after age, arose between their institutions, were such as answer to the hypothesis. Lastly, limiting ourselves to England itself, and first noting how recession from such traits of the industrial type as had shown themselves, occurred during a long war-period, we observed how, during the subsequent long period of peace beginning in 1815, there were numerous and decided approaches to that social structure which we concluded must accompany developed industrialism.

We then inquired what type of individual nature accompanies the industrial type of society; with the view of seeing whether, from the character of the unit as well as from the character of the aggregate, confirmation is to be derived. Certain uncultured peoples whose lives are passed in peaceful occupations, proved to be distinguished by independence, resistance to coercion, honesty, truthfulness, forgiveness, kindness. On contrasting the characters of our ancestors during more warlike periods with our own characters, we see that, with an increasing ratio of industrialism to militancy, have come a growing independence, a less-marked loyalty, a smaller faith in governments, and a more qualified patriotism; and while, by enterprising action, by diminished faith in authority, by resistance to irresponsible power, there has been shown a strengthening assertion of individuality, there has accompanied it a growing respect for the individualities of others, as is implied by the diminution of aggressions upon them and the multiplication of efforts for their welfare.

To prevent misapprehension it seems needful, before closing, to explain that these traits are to be regarded less as the immediate results of industrialism than as the remote results of non-militancy. It is not so much that a social life passed in peaceful occupations is positively moralizing, as that a social life passed in war is positively demoralizing. Sacrifice of others to self is in the one incidental only; while in the other it is necessary. Such aggressive egoism as accompanies the industrial life is extrinsic; whereas the aggressive egoism of the militant life is intrinsic. Though generally unsympathetic, the exchange of services under agreement is now, to a considerable extent, and may be wholly, carried on with a due regard to the claims of others—may be constantly accompanied by a sense of benefit given as well as benefit received; but the slaying of antagonists, the burning of their houses, the appropriation of their territory, cannot but be accompanied by vivid consciousness of injury done them, and a consequent brutalizing effect on the feelings—an effect wrought, not on soldiers only, but on those who employ them and contemplate their deeds with pleasure. The last form of social life, therefore, inevitably deadens the sympathies and generates a state of mind which prompts crimes of trespass; while the first form, allowing the sympathies free play if it does not directly exercise them, favours the growth of altruistic sentiments and the resulting virtues.

Note.—This reference to the natural genesis of a higher moral nature, recalls a controversy some time since carried on. In a “Symposium” published in the Nineteenth Century for April and May, 1877, was discussed “the influence upon morality of a decline in religious belief:” the question eventually raised being whether morality can exist without religion. Not much difficulty in answering this question will be felt by those who, from the conduct of the rude tribes described in this chapter, turn to that of Europeans during a great part of the Christian era; with its innumerable and immeasurable public and private atrocities, its bloody aggressive wars, its ceaseless family-vendettas, its bandit barons and fighting bishops, its massacres, political and religious, its torturings and burnings, its all-pervading crime from the assassinations of and by kings down to the lyings and petty thefts of slaves and serfs. Nor do the contrasts between our own conduct at the present time and the conduct of these so-called savages, leave us in doubt concerning the right answer. When, after reading police reports, criminal assize proceedings, accounts of fraudulent bankruptcies, &c., which in our journals accompany advertisements of sermons and reports of religious meetings, we learn that the “amiable” Bodo and Dhimáls, who are so “honest and truthful,” “have no word for God, for soul, for heaven, for hell” (though they have ancestor-worship and some derivative beliefs), we find ourselves unable to recognize the alleged connexion. If, side by side with narratives of bank-frauds, railway-jobbings, turf-chicaneries, &c., among people who are anxious that the House of Commons should preserve its theism untainted, we place descriptions of the “fascinating” Lepchas, who are so “wonderfully honest,” but who “profess no religion, though acknowledging the existence of good and bad spirits” (to the last of whom only they pay any attention), we do not see our way to accepting the dogma which our theologians think so obviously true; nor will acceptance of it be made easier when we add the description of the conscientious Santál, who “never thinks of making money by a stranger,” and “feels pained if payment is pressed upon him” for food offered; but concerning whom we are told that “of a supreme and beneficent God the Santál has no conception.” Admission of the doctrine that right conduct depends on theological conviction, becomes difficult on reading that the Veddahs who are “almost devoid of any sentiment of religion” and have no idea “of a Supreme Being,” nevertheless “think it perfectly inconceivable that any person should ever take that which does not belong to him, or strike his fellow, or say anything that is untrue.” After finding that among the select of the select who profess our established creed, the standard of truthfulness is such that the statement of a minister concerning cabinet transactions is distinctly falsified by the statement of a seceding minister: and after then recalling the marvellous veracity of these godless Bodo and Dhimáls, Lepchas, and other peaceful tribes having kindred beliefs, going to such extent that an imputation of falsehood is enough to make one of the Hos destroy himself; we fail to see that in the absence of a theistic belief there can be no regard for truth. When, in a weekly journal specially representing the university culture shared in by our priests, we find a lament over the moral degradation shown by our treatment of the Boers—when we are held degraded because we have not slaughtered them for successfully resisting our trespasses—when we see that the “sacred duty of blood revenge,” which the cannibal savage insists upon, is insisted upon by those to whom the Christian religion was daily taught throughout their education; and when, from contemplating this fact, we pass to the fact that the unreligious Lepchas “are singularly forgiving of injuries,” the assumed relation between humanity and theism appears anything but congruous with the evidence. If, with the ambitions of our church-going citizens, who (not always in very honourable ways) strive to get fortunes that they may make great displays, and gratify themselves by thinking that at death they will “cut up well,” we compare the ambitions of the Arafuras, among whom wealth is desired that its possessor may pay the debts of poorer men and settle differences, we are obliged to reject the assumption that “brotherly love” can exist only as a consequence of divine injunctions, with promised rewards and threatened punishments; for of these Arafuras we read that—

“Of the immortality of the soul they have not the least conception. To all my inquiries on the subject they answered, ‘No Arafura has ever returned to us after death, therefore we know nothing of a future state, and this is the first time we have heard of it.’ Their idea was, when you are dead there is an end of you. Neither have they any notion of the creation of the world. They only answered, ‘None of us were aware of this, we have never heard anything about it, and therefore do not know who has done it all.’ ”

The truth disclosed by the facts is that, so far as men’s moral states are concerned, theory is almost nothing and practice is almost everything. No matter how high their nominal creed, nations given to political burglaries to get “scientific frontiers,” and the like, will have among their members many who “annex” other’s goods for their own convenience; and with the organized crime of aggressive war, will go criminality in the behaviour of one citizen to another. Conversely, as these uncultivated tribes prove, no matter how devoid they are of religious beliefs, those who, generation after generation remaining unmolested, inflict no injuries upon others, have their altruistic sentiments fostered by the sympathetic intercourse of a peaceful daily life, and display the resulting virtues. We need teaching that it is impossible to join injustice and brutality abroad with justice and humanity at home. What a pity these Heathens cannot be induced to send missionaries among the Christians!