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Theory And Function Of The State

( Originally Published 1915 )

Social Evolution and the Theory of the State. — We have seen in the previous chapter how the state itself has its roots in the undifferentiated society of primitive peoples. Professor Commons says, " In primitive society sovereignty and its institution, the state, were blended homogeneously with all the other psychic motives and social institutions." In form the state was a different thing in different stages of social development. Once the state and the family, or at least the kindred, were quite undifferentiated. To-day their spheres are clearly separate one from the other and their respective functions sharply differentiated. So the theory of the state has changed with the change in its form of organization. There has been an evolution of the theory of the state throughout the ages since men began to speculate concerning its nature and the reasons for its existence, with its power over the individuals subject to it. Had there been a political philosopher among the individuals composing a paleolithic horde during glacial times in Europe, doubtless his theory of the nature of the state, or what in some measure was the forerunner of what has come to be called by that name, would have been much different from the theory of our modem political philosophers. He had not the experiences in governmental matters which the last three thousand years have supplied on which to base his generalizations. The theory of the state possible when a king could say L'ιtat, c'est moi, cannot possibly be the theory generally held when a majority of the people determine political issues. This is not to deny that political ideas persist from age to age and influence nations widely different in their political structure. Thus, Greece and Rome have contributed principles of government that have influenced all states organized since. The form of government affects the political theory held at the time, and on the other hand, the theory of the state influences the form of government. From the interplay of these two influences upon each other — society upon theory, and theory upon society — comes the development step by step which we see both in the forms of states and in the theory of the state.

State Theories. — The play of human reason upon the facts of political experience gives the world its theories of the state. When the inquiring mind of man began to question as to the origin of the state and its raison d'κtre, naturally his guesses were as far from the truth as the guesses of primitive man at the nature of the Universe. These theories range from the assumption of the divine origin of the state to the theory that men organized the state that they might survive and live together harmoniously. Types of the various theories of the state will be cited by way of illustration.

(1) Divine Origin of the State. Farthest away from the real truth is the theory that government and law are the direct creations of God. According to this theory, lawgivers, states-men, and rulers are the special agents or viceregents of God in establishing social order among His people. The results are seen in the assumption of power by the Louises of France and the Stuarts of England and in the theory of the Holy Roman Empire. No doubt the state s a divine institution in the same sense as a tree or a rock or the forces of nature are divine creations, but there appears to be no special order in the creation of the state more than in any other phenomenon. We see that the state evolved under the direction of man and in accordance with his needs. The religious theory led to the conclusion that a king was of a higher order of nature than his subjects, and while we find traces of this idea in modern life, the world has grown to recognize that the principal fact that gives the king or the chief executive of a government importance s that he represents the race or the nation. It is in him that the unity of the nation is symbolized and through him that the voice of the people is expressed.

The theory of the divine origin of the state has arisen where religion and government or the church and the state have been closely blended. In the ancient despotisms, where kings traced their lineage to the gods, in the Hebrew theocracy where Jehovah was the recognized head of the commonwealth, and more than all, in the Medieval Period where the church assumed many of the functions of political government, the idea of the divine origin of the state appeared.

Man made his own capacity for government by his own effort in the establishment of social order. There seems to be no more direct divine agency in the making of the government than in the making of a steam engine or in the organization and management of a railroad.

(2) Traditions of Lawgivers. — Far different from the theory of a divinely instituted state was the tradition concerning ancient lawgivers who, it s assumed, laid the foundation of the state by formulating systems of government and codes of law for the regulation of social order. It was an easy way to ac-count for the origin of the state to assume that Moses, or Lycurgus, or Solon, or Numa, or Alfred, by superior wisdom made the code of laws or founded the state. While it is evident that these ancient lawgivers formulated codes and systems of government very early in the history of national existence, yet prior to them each society had been growing into social order through custom, the decrees of kings, and the practice of justice and social control. These ancient wise men were formulators of laws and customs already practiced by the people and their originality consisted more in the modification and interpretation of laws than in the recognition of the state or in the creation of new forms of government.

(3) Government Contract. — The government contract is a theory that is based upon actual conditions that have existed at different times during the progress of civil government. The rights of rulers are secured by a contract between them and the people. The feudal government was based on this kind of contract. Indeed, somewhat earlier the practice of rulers holding their power through contract existed in many instances. The theory has never had much influence, although the principle at the foundation has worked itself out in other theories. It was really but a crude expression of the elective principle. It is an approach to the view that the right of government rested with the people, who, however, by an original contract, gave it over to rulers.

(4) The Social Contract.— Perhaps no theory of the state has given rise to greater controversy nor has had greater influence on political philosophy than what is known as the " social contract." The principal advocates of this theory were Hooker, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Each one presented different views of the theory which culminated through a process of evolutionary thought in the Social Contract of Rousseau, who gave the most formal exposition of the subject. It is not possible here to follow the development of the theory through its different phases, and it will serve present purposes to state the main features of the doctrine as expounded by Rousseau.

The theory is based on the hypothesis that men are governed originally only by natural law and that each one should other-wise be free and independent in a state of nature. Men were brought together into political societies by mutual attraction, by the need of companionship, and in order to insure individual development. This companionship led to perpetual struggle for individual rights and supremacy, — a struggle which could only be abolished by a mutual contract of individuals to maintain social order by a surrender on the part of each of certain rights of independent action. This " contract " theory sought " To find a form of association which may defend and protect with the whole force of the community the person and property of every associate, and by means of which, coalescing with all, may nevertheless obey only himself, and remain as free as be-fore." Expressed by Rousseau, the essence of this contract is, " Each of us puts in common his person and his whole power under supreme direction of the general will ; and in return we receive every member as an indivisible part of the whole." Thus, men agree to enter into one body politic and pass from natural to civil government. In this the citizen loses his natural liberty, but gains civil liberty by the social contract.

The principal defect of the theory as advanced by Rousseau is the ideal state of nature which he presents. The only natural right that exists is that born of the instinct or impulse to survive. There are no natural rights to be surrendered for civil rights.

There was no first convention by which each one surrendered his rights to a common public. Nor is it correct to assume that man had inherent political rights, or even natural freedom and equality. These assumptions present an ideal state of society and an ideal compact. There are instances in which certain phases of the social contract seem to appear. Thus, in the compact entered into by the passengers on the Mayflower, and in the organization of communities and states on the Western frontier, where individuals submit to a constitution and government, we have suggestions of the social contract. Yet it must be remembered that the state had been in existence thousands of years before such a contract was ever heard of and that the forms of government used and the laws adopted were but the product of the evolution of civil society and have no reference to a first cause of government. The social contract theory, in seeking to find a reason for the state's existence, finds no real first convention, nor any later contractual rights of the citizen. There are many social causes that bring about the aggregation of mankind and many sources of order and government, but the individual has only such rights and privileges as society, of which he is a member, grants him. Yet, it remains true that social order is established by each yielding to a form of procedure, and by his willingness to make sacrifices of individual liberty for the well-being of the community.

(5) Theories of Publicists. — In the development of the theory of the state, many philosophers who have tried to view the state historically have worked far toward a proper under-standing of it. They have prepared the way for the recognition of the true theory of the state, because they proceeded from the experience of humanity rather than from a priori premise. Their arguments are not to prove the right of the state to exist, but rather an attempt to discover what the state is like and how it came into being.

Perhaps of all the ancient philosophers, Arstotle1 has discussed the state with the greatest wisdom and skill. He holds primarily that " man is a political animal " with an instinct for government. This capacity for governing was the primal cause of the origin of government; its practice was the test of its quality in different peoples. Aristotle's Politics was based upon the best practices of the most successful nations. He was the first to recognize the historical development of government and social order. However, he recognized a cycle of forms decidedly interesting, but not absolutely correct. In his analysis he holds that monarchy is the first essential form of political government. This was followed in the natural order by aristocracy or government of the best, and aristocracy passed into oligarchy, which led on to democracy, and democracy passed into the mob rule (ochlocracy). At this juncture the tyrant appears and social order is reestablished through the monarch. While this formal cycle of change has not been universal, it has been repeated many times in history. The three legitimate forms of government recognized by Aristotle are monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, all others being spurious. However, the democracy of Aristotle s a government of classes. The modern democracy was not discussed by him, although his " polity" was similar in some respects to modem forms. When once thoroughly established, the modern democracy disposes of his cycle theory. Aristotle developed the broad theory of human rights, but showed how the service of the individual must seek the well-being of the community. His rights as an individual are absorbed to a great extent in the rights of the whole community.

Among modem scholars no one has had wider influence than Bluntschli. A master of political science, he has given us a theory of the modem state in which he shows its progression from the family. He defines the state as " a combination or association of men in the form of government and governed, on a definite territory, united together in a moral organized masculine personality, or, more shortly, the state s the politically organized national person of a definite country."' He calls the state a living organism because it is " a union of soul and body, i.e. of material elements and vital forces," and because the organism has members " which are animated by special motives and capacities in order to satisfy in various ways the various needs of the whole itself." He says that " the organism develops itself from within outwards, and has an extreme growth." Having declared this, he proceeds to show how this organism came to be, how it grows, and the various causes of growth, and seeks to verify his conclusions by citations of the facts in the process of growth. This is a recognition of the evolution of the state. Bluntschli insists that defmite territory is essential to the constitution of a state, while Woodrow Wilson points out, in his book on The State, that it is possible for a tribal state to exist while the people have no settled habitation. The Franks, before they had established themselves on a definite piece of territory, had some of the essential elements of the state. Also many of the Semitic tribes have many of the powers and activities of the state, although they are more or less nomadic. Yet these are examples of ethnic groups and not of demotic society. In modem life our conception of a state unquestionably includes the location of the people so organized on a definite territory.

The Evolutionary Theory. — The theorist asks, " What right have certain people who hold the power, to coerce others into regulated action through the machinery of government ?" That is really a social question and must be answered by the sociologist who seeks to interpret the state by considering it as the outgrowth of the same social forces as have produced the other social institutions such as marriage, church, and economic organization. Although the practical outcome of state theory is of great importance to the sociologist who seeks to furnish a program for political action, to him the theory of the state must be based not " in the constitution of things," but in the nature of society. Sociology helps to determine the position of the state as a conscious agency for the improvement of human society, demonstrating its powers and limiting its functions in accordance with true evolution. State theory considers the rational basis of state right and statecraft.

The sociologist views the state as a gradual development brought about by the attempt of men to live together harmoniously. The state was not the beginning of human society, but one of the later devices to procure social welfare through definite and clearly defined methods of political control. Considered historically, the elements of the state were founded not by the plan of God or man, nor by the agreement of a group of individuals to live together with equality and justice, but is a by-product of the attempt of individuals to adjust their differences and to promote their welfare. Primarily, no one intended to build a state, but it simply grew, incidentally, while men were attempting to satisfy their desires in other directions. Through a natural order, beginning with the family and extending through the gens or tribe, and finally emerging as the transition was made from custom to law, from status to political life, the state has slowly evolved. There is only a partial truth in each of the state theories advanced by philosophers, but there can be nothing truer than the sociological theory of the gradual development of laws and of social control, brought about by the natural evolution of society in response to conditions, physical, economic, and social.

Yet there must be added to this the constant choice of society in the establishment of social order, in the adoption of forms of government, and in the creation of wise laws to protect and guard human rights and privileges, as well as to impose social and political duties. This conscious choice of the social mind followed in order the unconscious growth of society. Any one who has read at all carefully the history of the struggle for civil liberty knows how out of the clash of opposing interests, principles of government which have been fundamental to our modern theories of the state were developed, such, for example, as the consent of the governed, or the principle of taxation only upon representation, or that of the voting of taxes only by the representatives of the people who pay them.

Nor must the formation of codes of laws as a means of producing social order be ignored. The expression of the best methods of government and the best laws for the control of man gave a great impulse toward the building of the state. No one can estimate the effect on social order of the publication of the first code of laws of a society. Yet the lawgivers did not make the state.

The Essential Functions of the State. — Recognizing that states continue to grow by enlarging their inherent powers and growing from without by adding to the number of functions, one may insist that there are certain characteristics and certain essential functions of a community to be observed before it can consistently be called a state. Adhering in part to the outline of Dr. Wilson,' the list of essential functions may be stated briefly as follows :

(1) Social Order. Were people all well intentioned and willing to observe the Golden Rule in their treatment of one another, still it would be necessary for some authority to establish and preserve the order of their going, that confusion might be prevented. The idealistic anarchists are wrong in assuming that if every one was willing to do right;, there would be no need of government. While the real order of society may not be founded on coercion, it remains true that the regulative power of government is essential in order that people may have an acknowledged universal guide to determine their proper place in the social world.

(2) To Provide for the Protection of Person and Property from Violence and Robbery. — In the most highly developed societies there are those who do not observe the rights of person or property. They do not hesitate to take that which belongs to an-other or to attack others and do them injury if they so desire. Hence, it is essential in every well-regulated community that such persons be restrained. Such protection is perhaps the most fundamental of the services of government; for the economic and social life of the people depends upon it. Without the faithful exercise of this function of government, all others will fail to give justice and promote the well-being of the community.

(3) The Defining of Legal Relations between Man and Wife and between Parents and Children. While the family precedes the state in the order of development, it has surrendered, in a measure, to the state the general definition and regulation of rights of its members. The marriage relation, so largely an individual matter, becomes a general social question when results are considered. So far as these relationships affect the whole social order they are regulated by the government. Like-wise, the relation of children to parents s naturally a private one, but so far-reaching is this relationship in its effects on the social body that it must of necessity be regulated. While the state refrains from invasion of the sacred precincts of the home to regulate its internal affairs, yet so far as the rights of the individual permit, laws must be passed and executed for the establishment of social order in the home. The ignorance of many, the errors of judgment of others, and the mere viciousness of still others demand that the family life shall not be used as a means of working injury or injustice to any person; otherwise society might be destroyed by the corruption of the family, the fundamental social unit.

(4) The Regulation of the Holding, Transmission, and Inter-change of Property. — One can imagine a community holding all property without any formal individual ownership. This has been practiced to a certain extent by some communities. The communists advocate this and the anarchists have denied the right of individual ownership. Proudhon, leader of one school of modern anarchists, claimed that " property is robbery," and that property holders were robbers because they had seized that which belonged to all and held it as individual property. But in community holding, it would be necessary to have the use of such property regulated, and as the kinds and nature of possessions change, new laws must be instituted, from time to time, to avoid confusion and oppression. However, one of the bases of social life is the ownership of property. It has arisen through the practical needs of society and has been carefully defined and guarded by law. Even though it be con-ceded that the acquisition of property has resulted from the combined efforts of the members of the community, it is the acknowledged right of every one " to have and to hold " and the state must protect every one in this right. Consequently what an individual owns he may dispose of and the government again comes into its legitimate province in regulating the ex-change of property, as well as the inheritance of property.

(5) The Determination of Liability for Debt or Crime. — After the fourth function the fifth follows as a necessary corollary. Otherwise, debts could be contracted and the persons contracting them could repudiate them. Without regulation, the business confidence would be so limited as to destroy the commerce and exchange of the nation. Indeed, those so disposed could practice confiscation and robbery without the restraint of government. So, too, as crime is a violation of law, individuals must be held responsible for it or otherwise no social order could be secured.

(6) The Determination of Contract Rights between Individuals. — Here we have again the enforced responsibility of an individual to his fellows. It would be impossible to have a well-regulated social order without it. While the stability of business rests to-day largely upon the voluntary honesty of individuals in their dealings with one another, the opportunity for the irresponsible to repudiate obligations incurred makes it highly necessary for the government to guarantee, by well-conceived laws, the enforcement of obligations. Differences of opinion might also cause great confusion as to what constituted a contract and how it should be fulfilled. Hence a general regulation is necessary, and the state alone can make such a regulation.

(7) The Definition and Punishment of Crime. Without law or regulation by the state, society would imperfectly adjust itself to a social usage. Certain things would be recognized as against the welfare of the community. There would naturally appear a consensus of social opinion which would determine what was right and what was wrong in society. But the law determines what is crime against society and demands a penalty for offenses. Originally the offense was only against the individual and it rested with the individual to settle with the offender. But it finally became the duty of the state to protect not only the individual, but also to protect itself, hence the offense is against society and the government must define the crime and institute the punishment therefor.

(8) The Administration of Justice in Civil Causes. Deputes over rights of property and personal privileges are certain to arise in every community. The settlement of these contentions or disagreements must be made by some disinterested person. The state, being the only power that can operate in-dependently of individual interest, becomes the natural judge and therefore the administrator of justice between all contending parties. It would be impossible to preserve social order or to establish social justice without such administration.

(9) The Determination of the Political Duties, Privileges, and Relations of Citizens. What part the citizen shall take in the government depends upon the nature of the government instituted, but every state implies the governing and the governed. Sovereignty is the supreme authority of the state. Through its own will the state assumes and maintains the authority which may be expressed through king, parliament, or constitution. It is the sovereign will of the state that regulates political duties and privileges of citizens. In a republican form of government like our own, where it is assumed that people govern themselves through their representatives, the sovereign power rests, for the time being, in the constitution which is created by the people, that is, the people define through constitutions, laws, and authorized administration their own political rights, duties, and privileges. The right to vote, to hold office, the duty of taxation, and the duty to bear arms in defense of the country, and the political limitations and duties of officers, must all be established by the government through well-defined laws and regulations.

(10) The State must preserve its Life and maintain its Political Relationship with Foreign Powers. — Every state stands as a unit in relation to other states and as such its individuality and independence must be maintained. Hence all intercourse with foreign powers must be conducted by the state. It must preserve the people from external danger or encroachment of other powers and must advance all the interests of the state in relation to foreign powers. It must see that the state's rights and privileges are maintained and that its citizens and their property are protected when involved in international affairs.

In the most limited conception of the state, its government must possess at least the powers enumerated above, in order to maintain itself and perform all of the necessary functions of statehood. Not one of the above-enumerated functions could be left out without crippling the power of the state, and every modern state attempts to perform these functions in one way or another.

Optional Functions of the State. — While the above list rep-resents the minimum requirements of statehood, there are no limits placed upon the action of a state provided it advance the interests of all the people and increase the well-being of the public. Hence it is that states vary in the number of things they attempt to do for the people. There are many optional functions which at least some states have assumed. The following is a partial list.

(1) The Regulation of Trade and Industry. — Most modern governments find this essential to the welfare of the state. In fact, all nations have regulated trade and commerce to a considerable extent. It becomes necessary for the government to coin money, to establish standards of weights and measures, and to regulate certain trades through license. In a larger way governments have regulated navigation and transportation and established tariffs for the regulation of industry and trade. This service of government increases in modern times. There is no limit to the action of the state in this matter except that of sound judgment and the possibilities of promotion of its own interest and the welfare of the people it represents. At various times in the history of the world states have gone too far in regulating industries, and at other times they have not gone far enough. The tariff, for instance, may be used to build. up one industry at the expense of others and to interfere with the foreign commerce of the nation to its own detriment. Possibilities of this kind indicate that laws for the regulation of trade should be instituted with the utmost care.

(2) The Regulation of Labor. — All modern nations have attempted to regulate labor to a greater or less extent. Whether it was slave labor or free and independent, states have found it necessary to establish laws regulating master and slave, employer and employee, and to define the rights of the laborer. In the present industrial era this function of the state has grown large. If one were to consider the legislation of the various states of the Union in recent times, he would observe that a large body of law had been created for the regulation of labor. Indeed, the greater part of the legislation in the United States in the last twenty years has been in relation to the industrial life, including labor. Political rights and privileges have, in the main, long since been settled, but rights, duties, and privileges of a growing industrial world must be settled in accordance with the existing conditions.

(3) The State Management of Industry. — Under this heading we have a large group of varied services of the state, such as the construction of roads, the ownership or management of railways or canals, the building of harbors and docks, the improvement of land by drainage or irrigation, and the dredging of rivers for internal communication. Included in this list is the protection of forests and of game and the stocking of rivers with fish.

There is also another group which varies a little from the maintenance of thoroughfares, that is, systems of communication. These include the postal and telegraph and telephone systems. The government may own and control all of these.

As most governments have established their own postal system, there seems but little reason why the government should refrain from owning and managing the telegraph and telephone systems.

A third group is found in the ownership and distribution of public utilities. The distribution of water, of gas, and electricity by the government is among the important measures adopted by some municipalities.

(4) Sanitation, including the Regulation of Trades for Sanitary Purposes. — This is necessary to the social well-being of a community, and the state has good reason for performing this service, for the health of a community increases its labor power, prevents pauperism and crime, and develops happiness and prosperity. The selfishness of individual interests would neglect sanitation and would lead to the spread of disease, therefore it is essential that the government take a hand in regulating the sanitation of the community. It is a true saying that " public health is public wealth," and the comfort and convenience of individuals not only increase wealth, but are essential to the general prosperity of the community.

(5) Education.— Most states have much to do with public education. They have either encouraged it by granting privileges and subsidies or established and managed it on their own account. It is generally conceded that in a free government in which the people take part it is necessary that education should be universal. The only way to make it universal s to provide for the maintenance of schools by the state. In our own country, while the state may educate the individual for the individual's personal advantage, there is a deeper social foundation for education, The state exercises this function for the general defense and welfare of the people ; through education it desires to make better citizens, better equipped men to fill the professions and departments of life, in order that the interests of the state may be conserved. While a state may exist without public education, education is essential to the highest forms of the modern state.

(6) The Care of the Poor and Incapable.' — This function has been practiced by states in varying degrees, but has never been considered universally necessary. In many in-stances the poor and incapable have been left to their own resources or to the tender mercies of individuals, or to private societies. The chief instances of the state care of the poor is found in the action of England through its well-known Poor Laws. The English government sought to care for everybody who needed help, and chiefly through maladministration increased the evil it sought to cure. It brought about a condition in which the poor were taxed into pauperism. Perhaps the people of the United States are more liberal in the care of the poor and incapable than any other nation. While we have thousands of private benevolent institutions caring for all classes of those who need help, nearly all the states of the Union have made provision for the welfare of dependents, defectives, and delinquents. It is even deemed necessary in modern times for the state to have a Board of Charities or a Board of Control to supervise these charitable institutions. While it is not the right of an incapable person to demand help of the state, it is deemed the duty of the state to help such person when his needs are discovered or made known to the state.

(7) Laws Relating to the Manufacture, Sale, and Consumption of Certain Kinds of Food. — These laws are sometimes called, very indefinitely, " sumptuary laws," but they can scarcely be recognized as such except in cases where they forbid consumption. The regulation of the liquor traffic, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, has for its purpose the restriction of consumption, and the improvement of the moral and social condition of the people, but is not a direct sumptuary law. The inspection of food products, which tends to provide for pure foods, is not intended as a restriction on consumption. It seems wise for the state to regulate all matters of this kind which concern the health and permanent well-being of its citizens.

These are some of the more important optional functions of the state which governments, under some form or another, have undertaken, but they are very far from representing all that may be included in this class. Yet they show conclusively that there is variation in the conception of what a government should do, and variation in the method of procedure.

The Limits of the Powers of the State. — It would seem from the foregoing list of optional functions that there could be no law regulating what should be assumed by the state and what should be left to private action. This can be determined by the public will, which follows the changing condition of the people and the progress of the state. Under such circumstances it may be safely assumed that the state may do anything which conduces to the highest well-being of the community. This, of course, is stated in a very broad way. In the United States, railroads, telephones, and the telegraph are owned and operated as private institutions, or at least by private corporations. Should it be deemed better for all the people that the state should own and manage these public utilities and the people should so decide, there is nothing to prevent their becoming essential state functions. There seems to be a tendency for the state to gain powers, and some think this will continue until the state owns and controls all the property and industries, and then we shall have a socialistic state. This, however, is not a necessary outcome of the increase in state powers, as the history of modern Germany shows. If in the past the state has been delinquent in exercising functions which legitimately belonged to it, or conditions have recently arisen which demand increased powers of the government, one need not jump to the conclusion that the state should own and control all industries. The growth of governmental functions for the social welfare corresponds very closely with three great developments in the complexity of our social life : first, the increasing complexity of population and social relationships ; second, the development of our industrial life in scope and intricacy ; third, the evolution of a social consciousness, a public opinion based upon considerations of social welfare for the whole group, roused to counteraction by the abuses that cluster like fungi upon an antiquated social order.

The State from a Sociological Point of View. — The sociologist is concerned with the nature and function of the state, for in proposing any reform, he must know what can and what can-not be accomplished by the government. Many reformers have seemed to think that all it is necessary to do is to pass a law and the reform will be accomplished. But thousands of laws have been passed which have not succeeded in accomplishing the intentions of their promoters. Indeed, some have been useless almost from the time of their passage. There are certain recognized normal tendencies in the development of society which must be considered before it can be determined what the state can do towards working a reform. It is found that acts of a state or government accomplish the purposes of their authors just in the proportion that the lawmakers take into consideration the stage of social growth reached by the people. There is a social mind which acts consciously, and it may change the affairs of the body politic; there is an individual mind which wills the future action of the individual, but these may both fail unless their choice be founded on an appreciation of the existing state of the social mind developed by their group. An example of a sociological tendency which has a practical bearing upon the making of laws is that law formulated by Giddings that a society which has few interests, but has these harmoniously combined, will be conservative in its choices, while one which has varied interests, but which are not yet harmoniously combined, will be radical in its choices. It is apparent that a program of policies to be enacted into law which would suit the one situation would not suit the other. Another sociological law also formulated by Professor Giddings is often acted upon by the practical legslator. It is that social action is less likely to be impulsive as society gets into the habit of attaining its ends by indirect and complex means.' The man who wants sudden action upon a proposal which will not stand the test of careful thought and investigation always argues the urgency of action. On the other hand, he who wants to defeat such a measure moves its reference to a committee or its postponement. Which method shall be adopted and what shall be the nature of the law proposed to meet a certain situation will depend largely upon the stage reached in the development of the social mind by a people. Moreover, what powers the state shall be given by the people depends much on the stage of development reached by the people in their collective life. If the population making up the state is relatively homogeneous in blood, or ideals, a democracy like the old New England town meeting will perhaps give the best results. But, let the population be made up of people gathered together from all parts of the world, who have not yet learned to know and appreciate each other's ideals and customs, and the democracy of the New England town meeting becomes the tyrannical bossism of our great cities. Or, again, a law which will be obeyed in " prohibition " Iowa, whose people have long been in America and have imbibed the Puritan ideals, will be broken in Wisconsin or Minnesota with their large foreign populations possessing other social customs and ideals. A republic in ignorant Mexico cannot be the same as in enlightened Canada or France. Sociology provides the foundations on which the political scientist may build his science of government, and the political philosopher his theory of the state.


BLUNTSCHLI, J. K. The Theory of the State, pp. 15-75.

LEROY-BEAULIEU. The Modern State, pp. 1-91.

LOOS, I. A. Studies in the Politics of Aristotle and the Republic of Plato.

MULFORD, E. The Nation, pp. 37-61, 283-320.

ROUSSEAU, JEAN JACQUES. The Social Contract, Introd. Bk. I, Chaps. 1-8.

WELLDON, J. E. C. The Politics of Aristotle, pp. 1-37.

WILLOUGHBY, W. W. The Nature of the State, pp. 1-141.

WILSON, WOODROW. The State, pp. 1-30.


1. Name and describe the two phases of the evolution of the state.

2. Which would you examine in order to determine whether the state is progressing, the machinery of government, or the principles of government?

3. What interest has the sociologist in the theory of the state?

4. Name and state the more important state theories.

5. What principle of government lies at the bottom of the theory of government contract?

6. How does the social contract theory differ from that of government contract ?

7. According to Rousseau, why did men enter into a social contract and form a government?

8. In what stage of social evolution does the social contract appear?

9. What are the chief defects of the social contract theory as set forth by Rousseau?

10. Criticize the theory that the state came into being with certain law-givers.

11. What vicious conclusion was drawn from the assumption of the divine origin of the state?

12. What is Aristotle's theory of the origin of the state? Of the evolution of the state? Criticize the latter in the light of political development since his day.

13. Read Aristotle's Politics and estimate his influence on modern political philosophy.

14. State Bluntschli's theory of the state. What is Woodrow Wilson's criticism of that theory?

15. State the sociological theory of the origin of the state.

16. Name the essential functions of a state.

17. Name other optional functions of the state. What is the social justification of these functions?

18. What are the sociological limitations upon the powers of the state? 19. What is the criterion by which it should be determined whether a

certain thing should be done by the state or by private initiative?

20. Of what value to practical statecraft may sociology be? Why are some laws impossible to enforce? Give examples.

Outlines Of Sociology:
Theory And Function Of The State

Social Phases Of Production And Consumption Of Wealth

Exchange As A Social Function

Evolution Of Ethics

Social Origin Of Religion

Development Of Religion

Processes Of Socialization

Social Forces

Social Laws

Social Mind

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