49 Pages

"The oldest of all societies

Byif you will, is the earliest model of a political

This is Rousseau, strange as it may seem. But is Jean Jacques really so very far behind, say, Fustel de Coulanges, who describes, in his Cite antique, the method of formatiol1 and the orderly growth of what he calls " the family in olden times", which with its " elder and cadet branches, its servants and clients, might comprise quite a large number of men"? 1 When we recall Fustel's opinion that it was of " an indefinite number of societies of this nature that the Aryan race", as he called it, "would appear to have been composed during many successive centuries," 2 we must remember that many geographers, especially in France, are primarily historians. "These thousands of little groups," he quite logically explained, "lived isolated, having few mutual relations and no need of one another, being united by no religious or political bond; each one had its own domain, its own internal government, and its own Gods." And so for ages the family, the gens, 3 was "the only type of society". But gradually unions of families occurred, from which resulted those groupings "which the Greek language calls a phratria and the Latin a curia". 4 Then, from the union of groups of this kind, tribes were formed. 5 Next federations of the tribes were organized and nations were born. The evolution is simple, logical, and quite plausible. There is no question of a progressive enlargement of human society. It" has not

increased [in this race] like a circle which expands little by little, becoming gradually larger".1 Fustel, with his analytic power, states this clearly: the formation is the cellular one, which is altogether different: a collection of exactly similar societies which are derived from one another by a series of federations; finally, we have the city, which is, properly speaking, a "confederation".