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itself, between rich and poor; in Italy, between Rome and the "Allies”; in the empire, between Italy and the Provinces. At the same time, the police duty itself was neglected; the seas swarmed with pirate fleets, and new barbarian thunderclouds gathered unwatched on all the frontiers.

The irresponsible senatorial oligarchy proved incompetent and indisposed to grapple with these problems, and its jealousy crushed individual statesmen who tried to heal the diseases of the state in constitutional ways. A century later, the situation had become unbearable within, and the Roman world seemed on the verge of ruin from barbarian assault from without. But, after all, the vigor of the Italian race was unexhausted; and the breakdown of senatorial rule, and the danger of a worse mob rule, bred the only resource, the military rule of Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and Cæsar.

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These leaders began a new system. We call it the Empire. Its essence was to be the concentration of power and responsibility. It was to remedy much. For centuries it guarded civilization against attacks from without, while it secured order, good government, and prosperity within. Political life for the people it could not restore. To combine liberty with imperial extent was to be left to a later race on a new stage.


55. Similarities among Greek, Roman, and Teutonic institutions. Sidgwick points out certain similarities in the early political methods of Greeks, Romans, and Teutons, as follows: 1

At the outset it is important to observe that, divergent as are the lines of development of Greco-Italian and Teutonic civilization, they yet are not so far apart in their beginnings. When we compare the earliest forms of political society in Greece, Rome, and Germany, as the best attainable evidence shows them, we find among important differences — a certain agreement in general features. Indeed, according to Freeman, "there is one form of government which, under various modifications, is set before us in the earliest glimpses which we get of the political life of at least all the European members of the Aryan family. This is that of the single king or chief, first ruler in peace, first captain in war, but ruling not by his own arbitrary will, but with the advice of a council of chiefs eminent for age or birth or personal exploits, and further bringing all matters of special moment for the final approval of the general assembly of the whole people. . . . It is the form of government which

1 By permission of The Macmillan Company.

we see painted in our first picture of European life in the songs of Homer. . . . It is the form of government which tradition sets before us as the earliest form of that ancient Latin constitution out of which grew, first the Commonwealth, and then the Empire of Rome. It is no less the form of government which we see in the first picture of our race drawn for us by the hand of Tacitus, and in the glimpses given us by our own native annals of the first days of our own branch of that race when they made their way into this island in which we dwell." 1

56. The feudal state. The conditions in western Europe that led to feudalism, and some of the essential features of the system, are given by Adams as follows:

We have endeavored to present in this sketch, as fully as possible in the space at our command, the rise of the feudal system. Comparatively insignificant practices, of private and illegal origin, which had arisen in the later Roman empire, and which were continued in the early Frankish kingdom, had been developed, under the pressure of public need, into a great political organization extending over the whole West, and virtually supplanting the national government. The public need which had made. this development necessary was the need of security and protection. Men had been obliged to take refuge in the feudal castle, because the power of the state had broken down. This breakdown of the state, its failure to discharge its ordinary functions, was not so much due to a lack of personal ability on the part of the king, as to the circumstances of the time, and to the inability of the ruling race as a whole to rise above them. The difficulty of intercommunication, the breakdown of the old military and judicial organization, partly on account of this difficulty, thus depriving the state of its two hands, the lack of general ideas and common feelings and interests, seen for example in the scanty commerce of the time, the almost total absence, in a word, of all the sources from which every government must draw its life and strength, this general condition of society was the controlling force which created the feudal system. The Germans, in succeeding to the empire of Rome, had inherited a task which was as yet too great for the most of them, Merovingian and Carolingian alike. Only by a long process of experience and education were they to succeed in understanding its problems and mastering its difficulties. This is only saying in a new form what we have before said in other connections, that the coming in of the Germans must of necessity have been followed by a temporary decline of civilization. This was just as true of government and political order

1ee Comparative Politics," Lecture II, pp. 65, 66.

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as of everything else, and the feudal system is merely, in politics, what the miracle lives and scholasticism are in literature and science. .

. . .

It is evident that a system of this sort would be a serious obstacle in the reconstruction of a strong and consolidated state. It is a fact still more familiar to us that the legal and social privileges, the shadow of a once dominant feudalism, which the state allowed to remain or was forced to tolerate, secured for it a universal popular hatred and condemnation. But these facts ought not to obscure for us the great work which fell to the share of feudalism in the general development of civilization. The preceding account should have given some indication, at least, of what this work was. The feudal castle, torn to pieces by the infuriated mob of revolted peasants, as the shelter of tyrannous privileges, was originally built by the willing and anxious labor of their ancestors as their only refuge from worse evils than the lord's oppression. . .

Feudalism is a form of political organization which allows the state to separate into as minute fragments as it will, virtually independent of one another and of the state, without the total destruction of its own life with which such an experience would seem to threaten every general government. .


It was this that feudalism did. It was an arrangement suited to crude and barbarous times, by which an advanced political organization belonging to a more orderly civilization might be carried through such times without destruction, though unsuited to them, and likely to perish if left to its own resources. There is no intention of asserting in this proposition that such a system is ideally the best way to accomplish this result, or that it could not have been done, perhaps with less time and expense, by some other expedient, but only that this is what it did do historically, and possibly further that the general history of the world. shows it to be a natural method in similar cases.

57. Essential principles of the medieval empire. The theory underlying the medieval concept of the Holy Roman Empire is brilliantly worked out by Bryce : 1

There was, nevertheless, such a thing as medieval imperialism, a theory of the nature of the state and the best form of government, which has been described once already, and need not be described again. It is enough to say, that from three leading principles all its properties may be derived. The first and the least essential was the existence of the state as a monarchy. The second was the exact coincidence of the

1 By permission of The Macmillan Company.

state's limits and the perfect harmony of its workings with the limits. and the workings of the church. The third was its universality. These three were vital. Forms of political organization, the presence or absence of constitutional checks, the degree of liberty enjoyed by the subject, the rights conceded to local authorities, all these were matters of secondary importance. But although there brooded over all the shadow of a despotism, it was a despotism not of the sword but of law; a despotism not chilling and blighting, but one which, in Germany at least, looked with favor on municipal freedom, and everywhere did its best for learning, for religion, for intelligence; a despotism not hereditary, but one which constantly maintained in theory the principle that he should rule who was found the fittest. To praise or to decry the Empire as a despotic power is to misunderstand it altogether. We need not, because an unbounded prerogative was useful in ages of turbulence, advocate it now; nor need we, with Sismondi, blame the Frankish conqueror because he granted no constitutional charter" to all the nations that obeyed him. Like the Papacy, the Empire expressed the political ideas of a time, and not of all time: like the Papacy, it decayed when those ideas changed; when men became more capable of rational liberty; when thought grew stronger, and the spiritual nature shook itself more free from the bonds of sense.

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58. Individualism in the feudal state. The contributions of the medieval period to the principles that underlie modern democracy are pointed out by Woodrow Wilson:

Through all the developments of government down to the time of the rise of the Roman Empire the State continued, in the conception of the western nations at least, to eclipse the individual. Private rights had no standing as against the State. Subsequently many influences combined to break in upon this immemorial conception. Chief among these influences were Christianity and the institutions of the German conquerors of the fifth century. Christianity gave each man a magistracy over himself by insisting upon his personal, individual responsibility to God. For right living, at any rate, each man was to have only his own conscience as a guide. In these deepest matters there must be for the Christian an individuality which no claim of his State upon him could rightfully be suffered to infringe. The German nations brought into the Romanized and partially Christianized world of the fifth century an individuality of another sort, the idea of allegiance to individuals. Perhaps their idea that each man had a money value which must be paid by any one who might slay him also contributed to the process of

making men units instead of State fractions; but their idea of personal allegiance played the more prominent part in the transformation of society which resulted from their western conquests. The Roman knew no allegiance save allegiance to his State. He swore fealty to his imperator as to an embodiment of that State, not as to an individual. The Teuton, on the other hand, bound himself to his leader by a bond of personal service which the Roman either could not understand or understood only to despise. There were, therefore, individuals in the German State: great chiefs or warriors with a following (comitatus) of devoted volunteers ready to die for them in frays not directed by the State, but of their own provoking. There was with all German tribes freedom of individual movement and combination within the ranks, wide play of individual initiative. When the German settled down as master amongst the Romanized populations of western and southern Europe, his thought was led captive by the conceptions of the Roman law, as all subsequent thought that has known it has been, and his habits were much modified by those of his new subjects; but this strong element of individualism was not destroyed by the contact. It lived to constitute one of the chief features of the Feudal System. . .

This system was fatal to peace and good government, but it cleared the way for the rise of the modern State by utterly destroying the old conceptions. The State of the ancients had been an entity in itself, an entity to which the entity of the individual was altogether subordinate. The Feudal State was merely an aggregation of individuals, -a loose bundle of separated series of men knowing few common aims or actions. It not only had no actual unity: it had no thought of unity. National unity came at last, in France, for instance, by the subjugation of the barons by the king; in England by the joint effort of people and barons against the throne, - but when it came it was the ancient unity with a difference. Men were no longer State fractions; they had become State integers. The State seemed less like a natural organism and more like a deliberately organized association. Personal allegiance to kings had everywhere taken the place of native membership of a body politic. Men were now subjects, not citizens.

Presently came the thirteenth century with its wonders of personal adventure and individual enterprise in discovery, piracy, and trade. Following hard upon these, the Renaissance woke men to a philosophical study of their surroundings, and above all of their long-time unquestioned systems of thought. Then arose Luther to reiterate the almost forgotten truths of the individuality of men's consciences, the right of individual judgment. Erelong the new thoughts had penetrated to the masses of the people. Reformers had begun to cast aside their scholastic


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