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Rousseau's theory of the superiority of the savage state over the civilized, but to show that collective possession of the earth and of its productions is the basis of social existence to which man naturally



In course of time, however, the more hardy, best located tribes developed the idea of private property, first in things movable, things the holder had himself made or found, things useful in the chase, in building a house, in preparing food, things comfortable to wear, or ornamental to the person. The first houses constructed separately for single families were slight affairs, easily movable, and so passed readily enough into the new category of private property; and, later on, with the house went the ground on which it stood, together with a surrounding


a patch of land rudely cultivated, which in time came to be inclosed by a stockade or a rough wall of stone. The transition to all this, we may be sure, was slow, especially the last step of it, changing the tenure of land; for, while the notion of private ownership in what one has produced with one's own hands was a simple inference easy to arrive at, it was most difficult for early man to conceive how exclusive title could lie in land any more than in water or air. It came to him hard, and it was accepted reluctantly, only after thousands of years. The Russian peasant has not accepted it yet.

In the earlier stage when there were no distinctions of rich and poor, men won their rank by their prowess, their endurance, their might of limb, their gifts of speech and of leadership, — gifts of superiority nowhere definitely transmissible from father to son, least of all in a rude society given to promiscuity in all relations; consequently the great at their death surrendered their greatness to the tribe instead of passing it down through a line of successors. There was no way, under such circumstances, in which a dominating class could be built up. As soon, however, as private property came to be recognized and began to accumulate, distinction of classes began to show itself, not prominently at first or for a long time, for the first great inequalities of wealth must have been very slow in appearing; but little by little, through violent appropriation of what belonged to others, the chiefs and their favorites came to be distinguished for their possessions, ordinarily more than for anything else, and were able to transmit this distinction to their children. The chief became a king; an hereditary nobility grew up along with an hereditary monarchy.


This was the beginning of what is known as feudalism. We find it in full swing in Europe in the middle ages, by which time the barons, and the king, who was chief among them, had taken possession of all the land not already in the hands of the church,

and of whatever else seemed to them desirable. Speaking of England at the close of the tenth century, Ramsay says: "Everything belongs either to the king or the lord. Thus in England the national peace is now the king's peace; the State domain — the folkland - is terra regis. The township has become the lord's manor, the township waste the lord's waste, the township court the lord's court.” And, quoting Stubbs: “Land has become the sacramental tie of all public relations; the poor man depends on the rich, not as his chosen patron, but as the owner of the land he cultivates, the lord of the court to which he does suit and service, the leader whom he is bound to follow to the host.” It was an enormous distinction that existed between this nobility and their underlings, of which the very structures speak in which these quasi-monarchs passed their days. More or less in ruins, but massive and majestic still, they are every one a fortress built to withstand a siege, perched often on a well-nigh inaccessible height, frowning on all the region around. For these lords distrusted one another as do modern nations, and like them stood in instant readiness for a mortal combat. The common herd on whom fell the drudgery in time of peace, in time of war did the fighting, the bleeding and dying, proud of the glory of their overlords, well content to be the soldiers and serfs of such mighty men. They cultivated for their own maintenance each a little glebe allotted them by the great landlord; in return for which and for his powerful protection, they devoted themselves for a prescribed part of the year, without further compensation, to the work of carrying on his extensive agricultural and other operations, and gave him also unrestricted military service as occasion might require. It was a condition only a step above slavery, but having this one advantage: it made the toiler's security from starvation depend on his own diligence in the cultivation of the ground allotted for his exclusive use. This, while it did not lessen, but tended rather to increase the severity of his toil as compared with that of the slave, did give a moiety of independence, and, for that major part of the time that he was his own master, a basis for self-respect. He need not starve, as in a crisis one who depends on wages may.


Between these extremes of feudal society were the artisans, the tradesmen, the professional people, forming a middle class which enjoyed a few privileges denied the humbler sort. As time went on, as manufacture and commerce slowly developed, this middle class increased in numbers, acquired wealth, came to wield an influence. The feudal lords felt a new and portentous breath moving upon the dead waters of mediævalism, and began to lose their grip on the world; and when, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, the great epoch of steam-power and laborsaving machinery came, bringing upon the scene manufacturing and merchant princes rivaling them in wealth and leaving them out of sight behind in enterprise, the days of feudalism were numbered. The old order went down, but not without a struggle, for it was entrenched in custom and had behind it the arm of civil authority. Here and there the change was inaugurated by a bloody revolution; but everywhere it came, whether by sudden, violent outbreaks or peacefully by slow degrees, and the epoch of industrial capitalism, which still continues, was ushered in. Before the middle of the nineteenth century the middle class was everywhere politically in the ascendant. They transformed absolutism in all civilized countries into constitutional government. As some of them grew vastly rich, they assimilated by affinity all that was left of the old order, and created themselves — or within themselves a new aristocracy; so ceasing to be a middle, and becoming the upper class, with only the proletariat and friends of the proletariat in opposition. The social outcome of it all was, a new form of oppression, so certain is it that whoever gets on top will play the tyrant.


The revolution of the world's system of industry brought about in the last years of the eighteenth century by the substitution of machine for hand work, of great factories for simple domestic production in multitudinous scattered homes, had the effect not only to leave many without work, but to crowd the

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