This book was first published in
Germany 1908. The latest English edition from 1922
does not include the supplementations Oppenheimer made on the 1929 German edition.
Especially the introduction differs from the German one, whereas the main chapters
(here: part 1 to 5) have not been changed.
count according to the reprint of
Free Life Editions, New York 1975
[p. xxvii] This little book has made its way. In addition to the present translation into English, there are authorised editions in French, Hungarian and Serbian. I am also informed that there are translations published in Japanese, Russian, Hebrew and Yiddish; but these, of course, are pirated. The book has stood the test of criticism, and has been judged both favourably and unfavourably. It has, unquestionably, revived the discussion on the origin and essence of the State.
Several prominent ethnologists, particularly Holsti, the present Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Finnish Free State, have attacked the basic principle formulated and demonstrated in this work, but they have failed, because their definition of the State assumed the very matter that required to be proven. They have brought together a large array of facts in proof of the existence of some forms of Government and Leadership, even where no classes obtained, and to the substance of these forms they have given the name of "The State." It is not my intention to controvert these facts. It is self-evident that in any group of human beings, be it ever so small, there must exist an authority which determines conflicts and, in extraordinary situations, assumes the leadership. But this authority is not "The State," in the sense in which I use the word. The State may be defined as an organisation of one class dominating over the other classes. Such a class organisation can come about in one way only, namely, through conquest and the subjection of ethnic groups by the dominating group. This can be demonstrated with almost mathematical certainty. Not one of my critics has brought proofs to invalidate this thesis. Most modern sociologists, among whom may be named Albion Small, Alfred Vierkandt and Wilhelm Wundt, [p. xxviii] accept this thesis. Wilhelm Wundt, in particular, asserts in unmistakable language, that "the political society (a term identical with the State in the sense employed in this book) first came about and could originate only in the period of migration and conquest," whereby the subjugation of one people by another was effected.
But even some of my opponents are favourably inclined to my arguments, as in the case of the venerable Adolf Wagner, whose words I am proud to quote. In his article on "The State" in the Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften, he writes: "The sociologic concept of the State, to which I have referred, particularly in the broad scope and treatment of it given by Oppenheimer, deserves careful consideration, especially from political economists and political historians. The vista opened out, from this point of view, of the economic development of peoples and that of the State during historic times, should be attractive even to the opponents of the concept itself."
The "sociologic concept of the State," as Ludwig Gumplowicz termed it, is assured of ultimate general acceptance. Its opponents are strenuous and persevering, and I once called them "the sociologic root of all evil;" but the concept, none the less, is the basic principle of "bourgeois" sociology, and will be found of value in the study, not only of economics and history, but in that of Law and Constitutional History. I permit myself to make a few remarks on this point.
The earliest evidence of the recognition of the idea underlying the law of previous accumulation, may be traced back, at the latest, to the period of the decay of classical civilisation, at the time when the capitalistic slave economy brought the city states to ruin as though their peoples had suffered from a galloping consumption. As in our modern capitalistic age, which resembles that period in many respects, there occurred a breach in all those naturally developed relations in which the individual has found protection. What Ferdinand Toennies calls the "community bonds" were loosened. The individual found himself unprotected, compelled to rely on his own efforts and on his own reason in the seething sea of competition which followed. The collective reason, the product of the wisdom of thousands of years of experience, could no longer guide or safeguard him. It had become scattered. Out of this need for an individual reason, there arose the idea of nationalism. This idea had its justification at first, as a line of development and a method in the newly born science of social government; but when later it became what Rubenstein (in his work Romantic Socialism) calls a "tendency," it was not justified. The community, to use Toennies' term, changed into a "society." "Contract" seemed to be the only bond that held men together - the contract based on the purely rationalistic relation of service for service, the do ut des, the "Contrat Social" of Rousseau. A "society" would thus appear to be a union of self-seeking individuals who hoped through combination to obtain their personal [p. xxix] satisfactions. Aristotle had taught that the State had developed, by gradual growth, from the family group. The Stoics and Epicureans held that individuals formed the State - with this difference, that the former viewed the individual as being socially inclined by nature, and the latter that he was naturally anti-social. To the Stoics, therefore, the "State of Nature" was a peaceful union; to the Epicureans it was a war of each against the other, with Society as a compelling means for a decent modus vivendi. With the one a Society was conditioned "physei" (by nature); with the other it was "nomo" (by decree).
In spite, however, of this fundamental difference between these schools, both assumed the premise that, at the beginning, individuals were free, equal politically and economically, and that it was from such an original social order there had developed, through gradual differentiation, the fully developed State with its class hierarchy. This is the law of previous accumulation.
But we should err if we believed that this thesis was originally intended as a historical account. Rationalism is essentially unhistoric, even anti-historic. On the contrary, the thesis was originally put forward as a "fiction," a theory, a conscious unhistorical assumption. In this form it acquired the name of natural law. It was under this name that it came into modern thought, tinctured stoically in Grotius and Puffendorf, and epicureanally in Hobbes. It became the operative weapon of thought among the rising third estate of the capitalists.
The capitalists used the weapon, first against the feudal state with its privileged class, and, later against the fourth estate, with its class theory of Socialism. Against the feudal domination it argued that a "Law of Nature" knows and permits no privileges. After its victories in the English Revolution of 1648, and the great French Revolution of 1789, it justified, by the same reasoning, its own de facto pre-eminence, its own social and economic class superiority, against the claims of the working classes. According to Adam Smith, the classes in a society are the results of "natural" development. From an original state of equality, these arose from no other cause than the exercise of the economic virtues of industry, frugality and providence. Since these virtues are pre-eminently those of a bourgeois society, the capitalist rule, thus sanctioned by natural law, is just and unassailable. As a corollary to this theorem the claims of Socialism cannot be admitted.
Thus, what originally was put forward as a "fiction," became first, a hypothesis and finally the axiom of all bourgeois sociology. Those who support it accept the axiom as self-evident, as not requiring proof. For them, class domination, on this theory, is the result of a gradual differentiation from an original state of general equality and freedom, with no implication in it of any extra-economic power. Robert Malthus applied this alleged law to the future, in his attempt to demonstrate any kind of [p. xxx] Socialism to be purely Utopian. His celebrated Law of Population is nothing but the law of original accumulation projected into the future. He claims that if any attempt were made to restore the state of economic equality, the workings of the law would have the effect - because of the difference in economic efficiency - of restoring modern class conditions. All orthodox sociology begins with the struggle against this supposed law of class formations. Yet every step of progress made in the various fields of the science of sociology, has been made by tearing up, one by one, the innumerable and far-spreading roots which have proceeded from this supposed axiom. A sound sociology has to recall the fact that class formation in historic times, did not take place through gradual differentiation in pacific economic competition, but was the result of violent conquest and subjugation.
As both Capitalism and Socialism had their origins in England, these new ideas were certain to find their first expression in that country. So that we find Gerrard Winstanley, the leader of the "true levellers" of Cromwell's time, arraying the facts of history against this anti-historical theoretical assumption. He showed that the English ruling class (the Squirearchy) was composed essentially of the victorious conquerors, the Normans, and that the subject class were the conquered English Saxons. But his demonstration had little influence. It was only when the great French Revolution brought the contrast out sharply that the thought sunk in. No less a person than Count St. Simon, acknowledged as the founder of the science of modern sociology, and the no less scientific Socialism, discovered in the dominant class of his country the Frankish and Burgundian conquerors, and in its subject population, the descendants of the Romanized Celts. It was the publication of this discovery that gave birth to Western European sociology. The conclusions drawn from it were carried further by St. Simon's disciple, August Comte, in his Philosophy of History, and by the Saint Simonists, Enfantin and Bazard. These thinkers had great influence on the economic development of the next century; but their chief contribution was the elaboration of the sociologic idea of the State.
Among the peoples of Western Europe, the new sociology found a readier acceptance than it did among those of Eastern Europe. The reason for this can easily be seen when it is remembered that in the East the contrast between the "State" and "Society," had not been so definitely realised, as it had been in the West. Even in the West, this contrast was only fully appreciated, as a social fact, in England, France, the Netherlands and Italy, because in these countries only the class of mobile wealth which had worked its way up as the third estate, had succeeded in ousting the feudal "State." In France, the league of the capitalists with the Crown against the then armed and active nobility had succeeded in subjecting the Frondeurs under the absolute power of the King. From this time on, this new estate [p. xxxi] represented itself as the Nation, and the term "National Economy" takes the place of the older term "Political Economy." The members of this third estate felt themselves to be those subjects of the State whose rights and liberties had been curtailed by the privileges of the two dominant estates of the nobility and the clergy. Henceforth, the Third Estate proclaims the rights of "Society" and against the "State," opposes the eternal Law of Nature - that of original equality and freedom - against the theoretic-historical rights of the Estates. The concept of Society as a contrast to the concept of the State, first appears in Locke, and from his time on this contrast was more and more defined, especially in the writings of the physiocrat school of economists.
In this struggle between classes and ideas, neither Middle nor Eastern Europe played any important part. In Germany there had once developed a Capitalist class (in the period of the Fuggers of Augsburg) which attained to almost American magnitude. But it was crushed by the Religious Wars and the various French invasions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which left Germany a devastated, depopulated desert. At the end of the period there remained a few cities and small states under the absolute domination of princes. Within the cities the artisans were bound together in their craft-leagues, and the rest consisted of those of educational pursuits and academic officials. In a large degree all these were dependent on the State - the members of the craft - guilds because they accepted a privileged condition, the officials because they were servants of the State, and the professional men, because they belonged to the upper estate of the society. For this reason there was no economic or social movement of the third estate in Germany; there was only a literary movement influenced by the flow of ideas from the West. This explains why the contrast between the two ideas of the State and of Society was not present in the minds of the German people. On the contrary, the two terms were used as synonyms, both connotating an essentially necessary conformity to nature.
But there is still another cause for this difference in the mental attitude between Western and Eastern Europe. In England and France, from the time of Descartes, the problems and inquiries of science were set by men trained in mathematics and the natural sciences. Especially in the new study of the philosophy of history, the beginning of our modern sociology, did these men act as guides. In Germany, on the contrary, it was the theologians and especially the Protestant theologians who were the leaders of thought. In their hands the State came to be looked upon as an instrument of Divine fashioning, and, indeed, of immanent divinity. This thought resulted in a worship of the State, which reached its height in the well-known Hegelian system. It thus happened that two rivers of thought flowed for a time side by side - the Sociology of Western Europe, and the philosophy of History of Germany - with occasional intercommunicating streams, such as Althusios [p. xxxii] and Puffendorf into the French, English and Dutch teaching of natural law, and that of Rousseau into Hegel. In 1840, however, a direct junction was effected through Lorenz Stein, one of Hegel's most gifted pupils who, later, became the leading German teacher of administrative law, and influenced generations of thinkers. He came to Paris, as a young man, for the purpose of studying Socialism at the fountain head. He became acquainted with the celebrated men of that heroic time - with Enfintin and Bazard, with Louis Blanc, Reybaud, and Proudhon.
Lorenz Stein absorbed the new thought with enthusiasm, and in his fertile mind there was precipitated the creative synthesis between the Western Europe scientific sociological thought and the metaphysical German philosophy of history. The product was called by him the Science of Society (Gesellschaftswissenschaft). It is from the writings of Stein that almost all the important developments of German sociologic thought received their first impulses. Karl Marx, especially (as Struve has shown), as well as Schaeffle, Othmar Spann and Gumplowicz are largely indebted to him.
It is not my purpose to develop this historical theme. I am concerned only in tracing the development of the sociologic idea of the State. The first effect of this meeting of the two streams of thought was a mischievous confusion of terminology. The writers in Western Europe had long ago lost control of the unification of expressions in thinking. As stated above, the Third Estate began by thinking itself to be "Society," as opposed to the State. But when the Fourth Estate grew to class consciousness and became aware of its own theoretic existence, it arrogated to itself the term "Society" (as may be seen from the selection of the word Socialism), and it treated the Bourgeoisie as a form of the "State," of the class state. There were thus two widely differing concepts of "Society." Yet here was an underlying idea common to both Bourgeoisie and Socialist, since they conceived the State as a collection of privileges arising and maintained in violation of natural law, while Society was thought of as the prescribed form of human union in conformity with natural law. They differed in one essential only, namely, that while the Third Estate declared its capitalistic Society to be the result of the processes of natural law, the Socialists regarded their aims as not yet attained, and proclaimed that the ideal society of the future which would really be the product of the processes of natural law, could only be realised by the elimination of all "surplus value." Though both were in conflict with regard to fundamentals, both agreed in viewing the "State" as civitas diaboli and "Society" as civitas dei.
Stein, however, reversed the objectives of the two concepts. As an Hegelian, and pre-eminently a worshipper of the State, he conceived the State as civitas coelestis. Society, which he understood to mean only the dominant bourgeois Society, he viewed through the eyes of his Socialist [p. xxxiii] friends and teachers, and conceived it as civitas terrena.
What in Plato's sense is the "pure idea," the "ordre naturel" of the early physiocrats and termed by Frenchmen and Englishmen "Society," was to Stein, the "State." What had been contaminated and made impure by the admixture of coarse matter, they termed the "State," while the German called it "Society." In reality, however, there is little difference between the two. Stein realised with pain, that Hegel's pure concept of a State based on right and freedom, was bound to remain an "idea" only. Eternally fettered, as he assumed it must be, by the forces of property and the culture proceeding from them, it could never be a fact. This is his conclusion regarding "Society," so that its effective development is obstructed by the beneficent association of human beings, as Stein conceived that association.
Thus was attained the very pinnacle of confused thinking. All German sociologists, with the single exception of Carl Dietzel, soon realised that the Hegelian concept of the State was impotent, existing only in the "Idea." In no point did it touch the reality of historical growth, and in no sense could it be made to stand for what had always been considered as the State. Long ago both Marx and Bakunin - respectively the founders of scientific collectivism and practical anarchism - and especially Ludwig Gumplowicz, abandoned the Hegelian terminology and accepted that of Western Europe and this has been generally accepted everywhere.
In this little book I have followed the Western European terminology. By the "State," I do not mean the human aggregation which may perchance come about to be, or, as it properly should be. I mean by it that summation of privileges and dominating positions which are brought into being by extra-economic power. And in contrast to this, I mean by Society, the totality of concepts of all purely natural relations and institutions between man and man, which will not be fully realised until the last remnant of the creations of the barbaric "ages of conquest and migration," has been eliminated from community life. Others may call any form of leadership and government or some other ideal, the "State." That is a matter of personal choice. It is useless to quarrel about definitions. But it might be well if those other thinkers were to understand that they have not controverted the sociologic idea of the "State," if a concept of the "State" grounded on a different basis, does not correspond to that which they have evolved. And they must guard themselves particularly against the danger of applying any definition other than that used in this book to those actual historical products which have hitherto been called "States," the essence, development, course and future of which must be explained by any true teaching or philosophy of the State.
Frankfort-on-Main, April 1922.
a) Theories of the State
[p. 3] This treatise regards the State from the sociological standpoint only, not from the juristic-sociology, as I understand the word, being both a philosophy of history and a theory of economics. Our object is to trace the development of the State from its socio-psychological genesis up to its modern constitutional form; after that, we shall endeavour to present a well-founded prognosis concerning its future development. Since we shall trace only the State's inner, essential being, we need not concern ourselves with the external forms of law under which its international and intra-national life is assumed. This treatise, in short, is a contribution to the philosophy of State development; but only in so far as the law of development here traced from its generic form affects also the social problems common to all forms of the modern State.
With this limitation of treatment in mind, we may at the outset dismiss all received doctrines of public law. Even a cursory examination of conventional theories of the State is sufficient to show that they furnish no explanation of its genesis, essence and purpose. These theories represent all possible shadings between all imaginable extremes. Rousseau derives the State from a social contract, while Carey ascribes its origin to a band of robbers. Plato and the followers of Karl Marx endow the State with omnipotence, making it the absolute lord over the citizen in all political and economic matters; while Plato even goes so far as to wish the State to regulate sexual relations. The Manchester school, on the other hand, going to the opposite extreme of liberalism, would have the State exercise only needful police functions, and would thus logically have as a result a scientific anarchism which must utterly exterminate the State. From these various and conflicting views, it is impossible either to establish a fixed [p. 4] principle, or to formulate a satisfactory concept of the real essence of the State.
This irreconcilable conflict of theories is easily explained by the fact that none of the conventional theories treats the State from the sociological view-point. Nevertheless, the State is a phenomenon common to all history, and its essential nature can only be made plain by a broad and comprehensive study of universal history. Except in the field of sociology, the king's highway of science, no treatment of the State has heretofore taken this path. All previous theories of the State have been class theories. To anticipate somewhat the outcome of our researches, every State has been and is a class State, and every theory of the State has been and is a class theory.
A class theory is, however, of necessity, not the result of investigation and reason, but a by-product of desires and will. Its arguments are used, not to establish truth, but as weapons in the contest for material interests. The result, therefore, is not science, but nescience. By understanding the State, we may indeed recognise the essence of theories concerning the State. But the converse is not true. An understanding of theories about the State will give us no clue to its essence.
The following may be stated as a ruling concept, especially prevalent in university teaching, of the origin and essence of the State. It represents a view which, in spite of manifold attacks, is still affirmed.
It is maintained that the State is an organisation of human community life, which originates by reason of a social instinct implanted in men by nature (Stoic Doctrine); or else is brought about by an irresistible impulse to end the "war of all against all," and to coerce the savage, who opposes organised effort, to a peaceable community life in place of the anti-social struggle in which all budding shoots of advancement are destroyed (Epicurean Doctrine). These two apparently irreconcilable concepts were fused by the intermediation of mediaeval philosophy. This, founded on theologic reasoning and belief in the Bible, developed the opinion that man, originally and by nature a social creature, is, through original sin, the fratricide of Cain and the transgression at the tower of Babel, divided into innumerable tribes, which fight to the hilt, until they unite peaceably as a State.
This view is utterly untenable. It confuses the logical concept of a class with some subordinate species thereof. Granted that the State is one form of organised political cohesion, it is also to be remembered that it is a form having specific characteristics. Every state in history was or is a state of classes, a polity of superior and inferior social groups, based upon distinctions either of rank or of property. This phenomenon must, then, be called the "State." With it alone history occupies itself.
We should, therefore, be justified in designating every other form of political organisation by the same term, without further differentiation, had [p. 5] there never existed any other than a class-state, or were it the only conceivable form. At least, proof might properly be called for, to show that each conceivable political organisation, even though originally it did not represent a polity of superior and inferior social and economic classes, since it is of necessity subject to inherent laws of development, must in the end be resolved into the specific class form of history. Were such proof forthcoming, it would offer in fact only one form of political amalgamation, calling in turn for differentiation at various stages of development, viz., the preparatory stage, when class distinction does not exist, and the stage of maturity, when it is fully developed.
Former students of the philosophy of the State were dimly aware of this problem. And they tried to adduce the required proof, that because of inherent tendencies of development, every human political organisation must gradually become a class-state. Philosophers of the canon law handed this theory down to philosophers of the law of nature. From these, through the mediation of Rousseau, it became a part of the teachings of the economists; and even to this day it rules their views and diverts them from the facts.
This assumed proof is based upon the concept of a "primitive accumulation," or an original store of wealth, in lands and in movable property, brought about by means of purely economic forces; a doctrine justly derided by Karl Marx as a "fairy tale." Its scheme of reasoning approximates this:
Somewhere, in some far-stretching, fertile country, a number of free men, of equal status, form a union for mutual protection. Gradually they differentiate into property classes. Those best endowed with strength, wisdom, capacity for saving, industry and caution, slowly acquire a basic amount of real or movable property; while the stupid and less efficient, and those given to carelessness and waste, remain without possessions. The well-to-do lend their productive property to the less well-off in return for tribute, either ground-rent or profit, and become thereby continually richer, while the others always remain poor. These differences in possession gradually develop social class distinctions; since everywhere the rich have preference, while they alone have the time and the means to devote to public affairs and to turn the laws administered by them to their own advantage. Thus, in time, there develops a ruling and property-owning estate, and a proletariat, a class without property. The primitive state of free and equal fellows becomes a class-state, by an inherent law of development, because in every conceivable mass of men there are, as may readily be seen, strong and weak, clever and foolish, cautious and wasteful ones.
This seems quite plausible, and it coincides with the experience of our daily life. It is not at all unusual to see an especially gifted member of the lower class rise from his former surroundings, and even attain a leading position in the upper class; or conversely, to see some spendthrift or weaker [p. 6] member of the higher group "lose his class" and drop into the proletariat.
And yet this entire theory is utterly mistaken; it is a "fairy tale," or it is a class theory used to justify the privileges of the upper classes. The class-state never originated in this fashion, and never could have so originated. History shows that it did not; and economics shows deductively, with a testimony absolute, mathematical and binding, that it could not. A simple problem in elementary arithmetic shows that the assumption of an original accumulation is totally erroneous, and has nothing to do with the development of the class-state.
The proof is as follows: All teachers of natural law, etc., have unanimously declared that the differentiation into income-receiving classes and propertyless classes can only take place when all fertile lands have been occupied. For so long as man has ample opportunity to take up unoccupied land, "no one," says Turgot, "would think of entering the service of another"; we may add, "at least for wages, which are not apt to be higher than the earnings of an independent peasant working an unmortgaged and sufficiently large property"; while mortgaging is not possible as long as land is yet free for the working or taking, as free as air and water. Matter that is obtainable for the taking has no value that enables it to be pledged, since no one loans on things that can be had for nothing.
The philosophers of natural law, then, assumed that complete occupancy of the ground must have occurred quite early, because of the natural increase of an originally small population. They were under the impression that at their time, in the eighteenth century, it had taken place many centuries previous, and they naively deduced the existing class aggroupment from the assumed conditions of that long-past point of time. It never entered their heads to work out their problem; and with few exceptions their error has been copied by sociologists, historians and economists. It is only quite recently that my figures were worked out, and they are truly astounding.
We can determine with approximate accuracy the amount of land of average fertility in the temperate zone, and also what amount is sufficient to enable a family of peasants to exist comfortably, or how much such a family can work with its own forces, without engaging outside help or permanent farm servants. At the time of the migration of the barbarians (350 to 750 A.D.), the lot of each able-bodied man was about thirty morgen (equal to twenty acres) on average lands, on very good ground only ten to fifteen morgen (equal to seven or ten acres), four morgen being equal to one hectare. Of this land, at least a third, and sometimes a half, was left uncultivated each year. The remainder of the fifteen to twenty morgen sufficed to feed and fatten into giants the immense families of these [p. 7] child-producing Germans, and this in spite of the primitive technique, whereby at least half the productive capacity of a day was lost. Let us assume that, in these modern times, thirty morgen (equal to twenty acres) for the average peasant suffices to support a family. We have then assumed a block of land sufficiently large to meet any objection. Modern Germany, populated as it is, contains an agricultural area of thirty-four million hectares (equal to eighty-four million, fifteen thousand, four hundred and eighty acres). The agricultural population, including farm labourers and their families, amounts to seventeen million; so that, assuming five persons to a family and an equal division of the farm lands, each family would have ten hectares (equal to twenty-five acres). In other words, not even in the Germany of our own day would the point have been reached where, according to the theories of the adherents of natural law, differentiation into classes would begin.
Apply the same process to countries less densely settled, such, for example, as the Danube States, Turkey, Hungary and Russia, and still more astounding results will appear. As a matter of fact, there are still on the earth's surface, seventy-three billion, two hundred million hectares (equal to one hundred eighty billion, eight hundred eighty million and four hundred sixteen thousand acres); dividing into the first amount the number of human beings of all professions whatever, viz., one billion, eight hundred million, every family of five persons could possess about thirty morgen (equal to eighteen and a half acres), and still leave about two-thirds of the planet unoccupied.
If, therefore, purely economic causes are ever to bring about a differentiation into classes by the growth of a propertyless labouring class, the time has not yet arrived; and the critical point at which ownership of land will cause a natural scarcity is thrust into the dim future - if indeed it ever can arrive.
As a matter of fact, however, for centuries past, in all parts of the world, we have had a class-state, with possessing classes on top and a propertyless labouring class at the bottom, even when population was much less dense than it is today. Now it is true that the class-state can arise only where all fertile acreage has been occupied completely; and since I have shown that even at the present time, all the ground is not occupied economically, this must mean that it has been pre-empted politically. Since land could not have acquired "natural scarcity," the scarcity must have been "legal." This means that the land has been pre-empted by a ruling class against its subject class, and settlement prevented. Therefore the State, as a class-state, can have originated in no other way than through conquest and subjugation.
This view, the so-called "sociologic idea of the state," as the following will show, is supported in ample manner by well-known historical facts. And yet most modern historians have rejected it, holding that both groups, amalgamated by war into one State, before that time had, each for itself [p. 8] formed a "State." As there is no method of obtaining historical proof to the contrary, since the beginnings of human history are unknown, we should arrive at a verdict of "not proven," were it not that, deductively, there is the absolute certainty that the State, as history shows it, the class-state, could not have come about except through warlike subjugation. The mass of evidence shows that our simple calculation excludes any other result.
b) The Sociological Idea of the State
To the originally, purely sociological, idea of the State, I have added the economic phase and formulated it as follows:
What, then, is the State as a sociological concept? The State, completely in its genesis, essentially and almost completely during the first stages of its existence, is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group over the vanquished, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors.
No primitive state known to history originated in any other manner.  Wherever a reliable tradition reports otherwise, either it concerns the amalgamation of two fully developed primitive states into one body of more complete organisation; or else it is an adaptation to men of the fable of the sheep which made a bear their king in order to be protected against the wolf. But even in this latter case, the form and content of the State became precisely the same as in those states where nothing intervened, and which became immediately "wolf states."
The little history learned in our school days suffices to prove this generic doctrine. Everywhere we find some warlike tribe of wild men breaking through the boundaries of some less warlike people, settling down as nobility and founding its State. In Mesopotamia, wave follows wave, state follows state - Babylonians, Amoritans, Assyrians, Arabs, Medes, Persians, Macedonians, Pathians, Mongols, Seldshuks, Tartars, Turks; on the Nile, Hyksos, Nubians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks; in Greece, the Doric States are typical examples; in Italy, Romans, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Franks, Germans; in Spain, Carthaginians, Visigoths, Arabs; in Gaul, Romans, Franks, Burgundians, Normans; in Britain, Saxons, Normans. In India wave upon wave of warlike clans has flooded over the country even to the islands of the Indian Ocean. So also is it with China. In the European colonies, we find the selfsame type, wherever a settled element of the population has been found, as for example, in South American and Mexico. Where that element is lacking, where only roving huntsmen are found, who may be exterminated but not subjugated, the conquerors resort to the device of importing from afar masses of men to be exploited, to be subject perpetually to forced labour, and thus the slave trade arises.
[p. 9] An apparent exception is found only in those European colonies in which it is forbidden to replace the lack of a domiciled indigenous population by the importation of slaves. One of these colonies, the United States of America, is among the most powerful state-formations in all history. The exception there found is to be explained by this, that the mass of men to be exploited and worked without cessation imports itself, by emigration in great hordes from primitive states or from those in higher stages of development in which exploitation has become unbearable, while liberty of movement has been attained. In this case, one may speak of an infection from afar with "statehood" brought in by the infected of foreign lands. Where, however, in such colonies, immigration is very limited, either because of excessive distances and the consequent high charges for moving from home, or because of regulations limiting the immigration, we perceive an approximation to the final end of the development of the State, which we nowadays recognise as the necessary outcome and finale, but for which we have not yet found a scientific terminology. Here again, in the dialectic development, a change in the quantity is bound up with a change of the quality. The old form is filled with new contents. We still find a "State" in so far as it represents the tense regulation, secured by external force, whereby is secured the social living together of large bodies of men; but it is no longer the "State" in its older sense. It is no longer the instrument of political domination and economic exploitation of one social group by another; it is no longer a "State of Classes." It rather resembles a condition which appears to have come about through a "social contract." This stage is approached by the Australian Colonies, excepting Queensland, which after the feudal manner still exploits the half enslaved Kanakas. It is almost attained in New Zealand.
So long as there is no general assent as to the origin and essence of states historically known or as to the sociological meaning of the word "State," it would be futile to attempt to force into use a new name for these most advanced commonwealths. They will continue to be called "states" in spite of all protests, especially because of the pleasure of using confusing concepts. For the purpose of this study, however, we propose to employ a new concept, a different verbal lever, and shall speak of the result of the new process as a "Freemen's Citizenship."
This summary survey of the states of the past and present should, if space permitted, be supplemented by an examination of the facts offered by the study of races, and of those states which are not treated in our falsely called "Universal History." On this point, the assurance may be accepted that here again our general rule is valid without exception. Everywhere, whether in the Malay Archipelago, or in the "great sociological laboratory of Africa," at all places on this planet where the development of tribes has at all attained a higher form, the State grew from the subjugation of one group of men by another. Its basic justification, its raison d'être, was and is [p. 10] the economic exploitation of those subjugated.
The summary review thus far made may serve as proof of the basic premise of this sketch. The pathfinder, to whom, before all others, we are indebted for this line of investigation is Professor Ludwig Gumplowicz of Graz, jurist and sociologist, who crowned a brave life by a brave self-chosen death. We can, then, in sharp outlines, follow in the sufferings of humanity the path which the State has pursued in its progress through the ages. This we propose now to trace from the primitive state founded on conquest to the "freemen's citizenship."
- "History is unable to demonstrate any one people, wherein the first traces of division of labour and of agriculture do not coincide with such agricultural exploitations, wherein the efforts of labour were not apportioned to one and the fruits of labour were not appropriated by some one else, wherein, in other words, the division of labour had not developed itself as the subjection of one set under the others." - Robertus-Jagetzow, Illumination on the social question, second edition. Berlin, 1890, p. 124. (Cf. Immigration and Labour. The economic aspects of European Immigration to the United States, by Dr. Isaac A. Hourwich. Putnam's, N.Y., 1912. - Translator.)