Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Concept Of Government - How Early Governments Were Formed

There have been kings ever since we know history. Later, kingdoms changed to different forms of governments - some with kings and some totally by public. Ever wondered how the first government came into being? What is the concept of government? Who was the first government? How was the first government formed? I won't answer all the questions here. Rather, I will put down my thoughts on what I think is the closest story to how the first government was formed.

Early Days On Earth

To understand the concept of governments, we must look back to the  Stone Age. Most of us know about the cavemen. They hunted and provided for food. Cavemen lived in groups, often a family. Later, they discovered wheel and fire, which served as a boon to our existence. The tendency to live in groups must have come over by the fact that their ancestors were apes. And apes, just like most of the animals, live in groups - mostly for protection. The fact that unity is power is more known to animals than people today.

You might ask how are cavemen related to the concept of government! Cavemen did not have kings and society or an established culture. You are true. Cavemen did not have a society based on certain guidelines as it is today. But it did have groups that can be resembled to societies and probably, each group had its own "head" to lead them. Isn't such a tendency seen in different types of animals - monkeys, zebras and even birds etc?

Per historians, the first civilization was found in Mohan-jo-daro. However, the remains of Mohan-jo-daro show that they already had kings. We have to look a little more into the past to understand the concept of governments - how societies came up with kings and later transformed into governments as we see them today. In other words, to understand how the first government was formed, we'll have to delve into the history a little earlier to formation of societies (and barter system).

The Rule of Dacoits

Statue of Priest King From Harrapa
Please dont misunderstand, The article talks
about a period much prior to this king existed
Cavemen were kind of nomads. They stayed at a place only till resources lasted and upon exhaustion of the resources, they moved out in search of next shelter that provided them with food and water. Naturally, these shelters were located more around rivers where they could hunt and eat. That does not rule out dense forests as well.

As they became more and more civilized by gathering and processing information about things around them, they started colonizing. The discovery of agriculture further strengthened these colonies as people started sowing and reaping their own stuff.

Others in the colony came up with selling goods. It might have been the barter system as there is no mention about any form of currency at that stage of history. This must have been what the historians call the "New Stone Age". Yes, the concept of government dates back to that period. 

While most people were busy growing and selling for a living, there were few people who felt why should they work! These type of people were not interested in growing or hunting their own food or in bartering for clothes etc. Being powerful, they started looting others in the colonies. When the people did not have enough to provide these dacoits, the dacoits moved to other colonies. Different colonies were forced to give away food and other items to these dacoits who might have used weapons to threaten people.

Rise of Kings

We are talking about dacoits looting people in the earliest civilizations. As with animals, they must have marked their areas. Just as animals mark their area – which is not visible to human eyes – they too created boundaries for looting people. What I mean to say is that these boundaries prohibited these looters from crossing into the area of other dacoits.

Sooner or later, they realized that looting people of all their goods is not good as the victims would travel into other areas. One theory says these dacoits started offering security to the people who lived in their boundaries – from other dacoits. This turned into a respectful profession. Offer security and help them solve their differences while receiving grains and other items as tax. This was the rise of kings, the early governments (and this could be the answer to how the first government was formed).

Modern Governments

Coming to modern day governments, there are still few countries that are ruled by kings. Some nations call them kings and other nations call them presidents. These kings prepare someone (mostly, from their own family) to handle the governance and when time comes, they pass on the reins of government to the person they trained.

But when the atrocity of such rulers extended beyond "point-of-patience", several groups of people would become rebels and fight them. In current world too, you will find that almost every country with dictatorship, single-man-rule (monarchy) has one or more rebel groups fighting the ruler (government).

The first instance of Republic (elected by people of the land) was indicated in Rome by historians. The aristocrats must have thought of expanding to provide better governments and for the purpose, they would have nominated different people allowing the citizens to elect their favorite representatives into government.

This could be the first form of democracy – government by the people, for the people. Today, most countries are republic – meaning they can elect representatives into the government. There are instances of monarchy too. Even in case of kings/queens, people are allowed to select representatives who'd govern them.

This is a rough analysis on the concept of governments – based on what I read about the subject. I suppose this is how the early/first government was formed. If you have any other hypothesis or wish to add to the above, please comment or write to us

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