Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
ARYAN RACES. Among the nations which have possessed the earth, the Aryan races occupy the first rank. They were, in earlier times, comprehended under the name of the Indo-Germanic; sometimes under that of the Iranian races, while, still earlier, they were called the Japhetic. The name Indo Germanic, however, is inappropriate, partly because it designates a particular country because it designates in part a particular nation; because it has been adopted partly from geographical, partly from ethnographical considerations, and hence, denotes, in either case, not all that is to be comprehended under it, but only a part. Again, the name Iranian has only a narrow geographical meaning. Aryan, however, is the name by which, in ancient times, these races called themselves. It serves, at the same time, to designate their character. We find it among the old Hindoos whose three highest castes were called arya. Only the lowest, darkest caste, the Sudras, did not belong to the Aryan tribe. The highest castes were venerable in comparison to the latter; and this is the meaning of the word in Sanskrit. The highest caste of the Brahmins were Aryans of the highest type, (ârja, not simply ?rja as the Vaisyas were called). The ancient Medes were, in like manner, called Aryans, and we have it on the authority of Herodotus, that the Persians were called Artaians, a word derived from the former. The noblest among the Hellenes were known as having preserved the traces of their Aryan origin, Tacitus mentions a tribe as belonging to the Germanic people, who retained the same name—the Arii; and in like manner too in that of the Arimanni, whose meaning is said to be "free men," we again find traces of the same word. Venerable, in the east, and free in Europe: such are the Aryans. Wherever we meet, in the Aryan language, the root of this word, it signifies the noble and the free.
—The philological researches of the present century have demonstrated the close affinity and close relationship alike of the Sanskrit, Zend, Parsee, of the Greek, Latin, the Germanic, and Lithuanic languages. They have thus again disclosed the affinity, long forgotten, of nations which have spoken, and still speak, these languages. The Scandinavians of the north and the Hindoos along the Ganges, who through thousands of years, have lived a great distance from one another, are now recognized as brethren and cousins. Language furnishes, at the same time, incontrovertible proof of the superior intelligence of these peoples. The Aryan languages are the most flexible in form and the richest in thought of all languages spoken by man. Their literatures are superior, in science and art, to those of all other races.
—We find, in the history of the world, but one family of nations, which, to a certain extent, can stand comparison with the Aryan race, the Semitic. All the rest are far inferior to it. The Aryan and Semitic languages are separated by a broad distinction. The difference between Aryans and Shemites is certainly much greater than the difference noticeable among the Aryans themselves. Yet, there is a tradition, among these two peoples, of their common origin. They belong, in a certain sense, together, like two stems having a common root, like two families, which, though separated, trace their origin to a common ancestor. They both consider themselves not the sons of the earth, but the offspring of the heavens, the sun, and the light (the sons of God). They are thus distinguished from the inferior races who, according to their own, though obscure and false ideas, have sprung from the earth, or from the animal kingdom. It is not impossible that the beginnings of the belief in both the affinity and the differences found among these races are traceable in the account given of the origin of man in the cosmology of Moses. If the idea of the origin of the superior race (the sons of God) seems to be personified in Adam, it is not improbable that in his two sons, Cain and Abel, we may find the first typical illustration of the origin of the two races which, in after times, separated in hostility. Cain is described as the first born, the man, the lord, the tiller of the soil, as the proud, daring warrior; while Abel, as the second born, is characterized as a pious, mild, and devout herdsman. It is impossible to make the distinction between the primitive, pure-minded disposition of the Aryans and of the Shemites clearer in a few words. In like manner, the other races such as the Hellenes and Germans have represented the ancestors of their different tribes as the sons of their common progenitor. If this idea be true, the fratricide which Cain committed in killing Abel is placed in a new light. It is very likely that the Shemites justly reproached the more violent Aryans who were their superiors, with being the first people who were the cause of warfare among the sons of God, a warfare the result of religious dissension. For this reason the Shemites called down upon the Aryans the curse of war, i.e. fratricide—which was to follow them on their onward march through ages. But, however this may be, we do not propose to force this idea upon any one; and besides it might, though unjustly, he used to disparage the character of the Aryan races. It is a fact that, from a very early day, the fortunes of the Aryans and the Shemites, as well as their ideas and languages, took a different turn. They both are conscious of being the creatures of God. But the Aryans are characterized by greater self-assertion, and by their placing greater reliance in the resources of the human mind. The Shemites show greater trust in, as well as a more absolute dependence on, God. This distinction is clearly manifest in the history of the world. All higher scientific achievements are the work of Aryan minds. The Aryans are religious by nature, but their creative power is shown in philosophy, rather than in religion. On the other hand, the most important religious revelations have come through Semitic races. Moses, Mahomet, and the mother of Christ were Shemites. It was from them that the ruling nations of the earth received their religion; but these nations themselves belong to the Aryan stock, and are the authors of science and of the legal and practical institutions of the world. The older religious systems of the Aryan races are all the results of profound meditation on the nature of God and the world; while the religion of the Hebrews, and in a still greater degree the creed of Islam, are manifestations of the religious sentiment. Christianity even, as the religion of love, did not take rise as a dogmatic system. Brahmanism, Buddhism and the creed of Zoroaster, on the other hand, are philosophical theories. On the religious belief of the Greeks and Romans, and of the Germanic nations, speculative views of nature and the mind, and the imaginative faculties at work among the sages and prophets of these peoples, exerted a very great and controlling influence. And even, when the Hellenic people and the Romans had embraced Christianity as it came from Palestine, that philosophical tendency of the Aryan mind again became manifest in this, that it transformed the religion of love into dogmatic tenets, and developed it into a system of thought. The strong sense of individuality which distinguishes the Aryans sometimes turns into defiance and haughtiness; and it is a very remarkable fact and one which re-appears among the Hindoos, the Hellenes and the Germanic nations, that their great heroes even dared to battle with the gods. The victory over one of the gods, that is, over a personal manifestation, in time, of the divine principle which was no longer suited to the age, was, among the Hindoos, considered the highest proof of true heroism which man could give, and as establishing his claim to kingship. Homer has, in a series of pictures, represented the struggles between the heroes of his people and the gods. The Germanic heroes among the warriors of their race, who are killed in battle, enter Valhalla, and there prepare themselves for the world's battle (the last of all) when they, together with the shining gods of heaven, are engaged in fierce contest with the dark spirits of nature. What Gobineau so justly remarks, while pointing out this distinguishing feature in the character of the Aryan race: that the inferior races should look up to the Aryan heroes, as though they were the gods themselves, and willingly submit to them, is a fact which is not surprising, when we observe that the latter, in their character as warriors, considered themselves the equals of the gods. Yet, more important than these characteristics of a daring and heroic leader in war, is another intellectual peculiarity of the Aryan race. It is, above all, a peculiarity of this race, that their intellectual heroes dare to struggle with the gods, and to push forward in this contest, to the ultimate cause of things. These people have, from the beginning, dared to search, with a greater freedom, for the ideals of human thought, the relation of man to nature and the divine. They were, from the beginning, happy as they gloried in the thought of struggling with the highest problems which present themselves to the human mind for solution. The blind submission to traditional authority on questions of science is, as is shown by the history of the world, an entirely un-Aryan characteristic. I do not mean the childish and blind hatred of all authority, though rightful; a sentiment which resists the authority of parents, the wise, of those in office, of the government, history and divine revelation. From this irrational dread of all authority, the truly Aryan is entirely free. People of a different stock, when, having suffered too long from an oppressive authority, they are suddenly relieved from it, are more liable to fall an easy victim to this erroneous sentiment. Liberated slaves, not men born and reared in a state of freedom, are hurled into this moral abyss. Whoever has learned to cope with the formidable difficulties peculiar to every sort of scientific research which is bent on going to the very depth of a problem; whoever is an adept in pure thought and knows how to conform to its irrefragable logic, is not easily led into such extremes. Indeed, the authority whose supremacy we all have to acknowledge whenever a conflict arises, is, to the man of scientific training, in all things peculiar to his calling, the power of logic; and in his search after knowledge he does not allow even the faith to hamper him, to which, in feeling, he may be devotedly attached. And this free spirit of inquiry is certainly a characteristic peculiar to the Aryan race. It is an established fact in the history of the world, that it was above all the Aryan races who labored for the advancement of science. With their scientific achievements, those of other races bear no comparison, not even those of their primitive kinsmen, the Semitic people who resemble them more closely. It is a very remarkable fact that the ancient Hindoos (forming part of the Aryan race) had classified mankind according to scientific principles. The attempt of the Chinese to imitate this classification, shows, by the manner in which they substituted mere erudition for methodical science, the marked contrast between the two-races. According to the ideas of the Hindoos, the Brahmins form the highest class (the promoters of science and religion alike), the religious philosophers. According to the Hindoo law, only the Aryans are permitted to read the sacred books (the Vedas) because they are the only ones who were supposed to enjoy the dignity of free men, while the darker Sudras, who were supposed not to understand these books, are denied that privilege. When we consider the intellectual heroism, and the incessant search after truth which distinguish the Aryan races, and among them the Germans in particular; and when we further consider that it was, in the first instance, not the Aryan race, superior in intellectual endowments and individuality (but the Semitic, so much inferior in all respects) to whom God revealed himself, the question arises: What is the cause? What does it mean? Short-sighted and timid people have often since contented themselves with the answer, that God was better pleased with the constitution of the Semitic than of the Aryan mind. How often have these people condemned the efforts of bold scientific thinkers as arrogant and futile, and attempted to fasten the shackles, which the authority of the Church provided for it, more firmly upon the spirit of inquiry, throughout the world! This intellectual malady was not without its evil influence on the state. How many an effort to oppress the intellect of nations and how many an instance in which men of liberal mind were persecuted, were, in the light of this sentiment, held to be entirely rational and justifiable! By these means, the development of mankind was, for a long time, retarded in a great many countries; the best tendencies toward human progress were weakened; and the course of science was, on account of the spirit of opposition and contradiction, by which human nature is controlled, forced into dangerous by-ways and marked by the spirit of destruction and negation. And yet, how little satisfaction do we find in the curious answer above referred to! If it were true that God loved the Aryans less than the Shemites, why is it then that he has endowed them with superior intelligence, with reasoning powers more acute? That this is a fact, the language and literature of the Aryan races demonstrate most conclusively. And if He should place the Semitic above the first born Aryan races, because the former looked upon Him as their Lord and Master with greater trust, how comes it that He has given the supreme power on earth to the Aryan rather than to the Semitic races? One of the greatest and most liberal thinkers among the Germans (Lessing) has tried to give in his essay, "The Education of Mankind," an answer to this question, which is more luminous and significant, and which we are tempted to repeat here, though slightly changed in form. A father has two sons. The first born is the superior both in intellect and daring. He is more violent and self-reliant than his younger brother who is milder and more attached to his father and his family. The former no sooner becomes aware of his powers than he rushes out into the world, while the latter stays at home. Now can it be said to be unkind in the father, if he is interested and directly engages in the education of the younger son first, while he is confident that the older one will make his way through life, and be less likely to find his way back to his father; and for this reason, contents himself with having the mind of the latter educated partly by the traditions of his home, partly by the experience and fortunes of life. He knows him and his ability thoroughly, and the powers of nature and the world, which are likely to put a check to too much daring, and guard against the extravagance and the extremes of the actions of men. Is it, then, absolutely inconceivable that, in the history of the world, we should find similar cases? that God should, in the first place, manifest himself, by divine revelation, to the Semitic races, the Jews and Arabians in particular, suiting these revelations to their character and degree of development, and should thus enable them materially to influence the intellectual and moral growth of the other races, while He should impose upon the Aryan races the task of building up the methodical knowledge of science, and be confident of their ability to work out this higher problem, in the ripeness of their powers? Yet, should this be one of the grand designs of God as manifested in the history of the world (which so clear a thinker as Lessing believed it to be, and which the events of history so far seem to prove it to be) how foolish and atrocious are the attempts, both of clerical and political parties, to check this search and struggle for the attainment of ultimate truth, on the part of the noblest and wisest of human intellects!
—The affinity of the several Aryan races is shown, not only by their speech but by their ideas of law and government as well. The science of jurisprudence is indeed still far behind philological science, in the knowledge of this connection. It was the science of philology that led the way in the discovery of this truth, and encouraged jurisprudence to follow in its wake. The difference in the laws of the Aryan races, great as it may seem to us, is no greater than that of their speech. But, as one common primitive language has been successfully traced in all the great variety of our modern languages, it is possible, in like manner, to discover, in the variety of laws of the Aryan races, the original unity which embraced the primitive ideas of these races on jurisprudence and the policy of the state. This original unity seems to have been stamped upon these races by the Creator; while the great diversity in the development of the primitive ideas common to all, and the difference in their general development, are the work of human history.
—The whole Aryan race has at all times shown a strong sense of the honor and dignity of human nature, and this is the source of the after-development of their various laws. The sense of honor attaching to the human person was the primary idea (which is also shared by the Semitic races), the principle of liberty peculiar to the Aryans only, is the development of that idea as worked out by the latter; and it became an object of human thought and aspiration, for the first time, in Europe. In the east "Aryas" still means the venerable, and among the Germans the "Arimans" are the free men.
—In war the standard of honor is raised, and it is this superior sense of honor which characterizes the noble knighthood whom we find among all the Aryan nations. The knights of the Hindoos are not inferior, in their high sense of honor, to the Germanic and Romanic knights of the middle ages In the laws of Manu, viii. 89, it is said: "The princes who, anxious for the victories of war, do battle against one another with the greatest fortitude, without turning backward, go straight to heaven. 90: A warrior is never allowed, in battle, to use treacherous weapons on his enemy; no arrows with barbs, nor such as are poisonous. 91: He shall not beat an enemy who is on foot, while he is mounted on the wagon: nor a man effeminated; nor him who begs for mercy; nor him whose horse is slain; nor him who is sitting; nor him who is taken a prisoner. 92: Nor him whose weapons are broken; nor him who is oppressed with sorrow; nor him who is seriously wounded; nor the coward and the fugitive."
—A people with ideas such as these, certainly had a delicate sense of honor, and we readily perceive how closely related to it the sentiment of personal liberty is, which took its rise chiefly among European peoples of Aryan blood. How different is the character of the negro! The negro bows in the dust before his master, covers his head with ashes, and even puts his master's foot upon it. Such base feeling was at all times detestable to the Aryan people. But in other nations, too, superior to the negroes, as for instance those of the Mongolian race, the Aryan sense of honor seems to be entirely wanting. They submit willingly to those in power, but, treacherous by nature, they never fail to take revenge whenever an opportunity offers. This distinction in the character of the different races is also noticeable in Europe. It was for a long time a matter of doubt whether the Slavonic people were part of the Aryan race. But it finally became quite evident that in these people also (especially among the higher classes) an Aryan element is to be found, though strongly mixed with un-Aryan blood, which preponderates in the lower classes. The ordinary Russian, therefore, has little sense of personal honor, and in the higher classes even, this sense is wanting more frequently than among the Germanic or Latin races. Among the Poles, however, this Aryan trait seems to be (especially among the nobility) much stronger.
—Bright as this side of the character of the Aryan races, their sense of honor, of human dignity, and of liberty, may be, the dark side is not wanting: and it stands in bold contrast with the other. The Aryans have, in the course of history, frequently shown themselves arrogant and selfish, the natural effect of this sentiment running to an extreme. In this manner, they have been very often tempted to consider themselves better than the rest of mankind, to treat them with contempt, and, as far as lay in their power, to reduce them to subjection. In the ancient castes of the Hindoos, this dark side of the character of the Aryan races is shown in a conspicuous way. But we find it also in European history, and we again discover it in America in the treatment of the negroes by the whites.
—However, the true mission of the Aryan nations is quite different: it consists in educating the nations and those classes morally and intellectually inferior to them, up to the standard of humanity and honor. And of this we find in history many a noble example. The Hellenes and Romans have, on the whole, thus influenced the nations of the world who came within the range of their superior intelligence, by civilizing and ennobling them. Another illustrious example we find in the history of the French people. The Celtic people, and among them the upper classes in particular, may, like the Slaves, share in the blood of the Aryans, but they undoubtedly have, in a very great degree, that of inferior races as well. For this reason they, as Celts, have never succeeded in establishing a permanent and independent form of government. Cæsar, who knew the Celtic people well, describes the masses of them as being in a very low condition, despised and plundered by both the priesthood and the knightly nobility. In the middle ages, too, the large rural classes (villeins) were characterized by the contempt in which they were held by others. And yet it will certainly be admitted now, that a very strong sense of honor and love of glory controls the whole French nation, from the highest to the very lowest class. The lowest Frenchman even is very sensitive on all matters touching the honor of his nation, and acts manfully when his feelings on this subject are aroused. This high standard of a whole nation is due to an educating process, which, as an essential factor of history, runs through centuries. The Romanic and Germanic elements in the population of France, together with Romanic and Germanic ideas, have gradually supplied what was wanting in the primitive character of the Celts; and both great rulers and great thinkers have, by action and thought, awakened and preserved among all classes a new and higher sense of nationality. This is but an instance of what the Aryan nations have to do throughout the world and for all mankind.
—Woman also, among the Aryans, enjoys the benefit of this superior standard of human dignity and honor. Indeed, the position of woman among the Aryan nations (especially in the east) was in many respects characterized by oppression. Yet, all the nations of Aryan stock cherish (as is shown by their legendary lore and their songs) an ideal of female honor which is far above the low, sensuous feeling with which so many non-Aryan nations look upon her sex. In Sanskrit a woman is called patni. the associate of the governing father, the mistress of the house. One of the consequences of this is, that the nations of Aryan stock were at all times in favor of monogamy. "One husband and one wife," is a principle thoroughly Aryan. Indeed, an honorable position for woman is inconceivable in a general state of polygamy. It is true, certain Aryan nations allowed, under certain circumstances and occasionally under certain conditions, individuals to have two and even more wives. We find this to be the case among the Hindoos, who let a man in case his first wife bore him no children, take another; and also among the Germanic people, who, from political reasons, suffered their princes to connect themselves with several families by way of marriage. Yet, among these nations, as among the Hellenic and Roman, monogamy is still the rule while polygamy forms the exception. The fact that a few Aryan tribes disregarded this primitive rule, is largely due to the influence of people who were members of a different stock. The Semitic race even held less refined sentiments on this point, while the people of the Mongolian and African races were still less scrupulous.
—The matrimonial relation is based on the family. A noble view of the former naturally leads to a noble view of the latter. For this reason, the Aryan races showed, from the beginning, a great interest in, and a true conception of, all family relations. It is remarkable that the words father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister are traceable in all Aryan languages: a certain proof that the ideas which they suggest of the organic relation of the different members of the family were the common property of this body of nations. Everywhere the father is respected as the head of the family and the lord of the household. In him we find the power of the family concentrated, and it is he who directs and shapes its economy. But this power is far from being absolute; it is never like that of the master over his slave; on the contrary, it is always associated with certain duties, and those which are due to the members of the family are not forgotten. Yet, one objection may easily be raised here, in view of the provisions of the Roman law, which is substantially of Aryan origin. It is true, the Roman law considers the husband's power over his wife (manus) and the power of the father over his children (patria potestas) as absolute; and its legal effect was similar to that resulting from the power of the master over his slaves. But this objection loses its force when two things are considered: first, that the customs and social life of Rome were, in point of fact, better than the law and the theories of the jurists; secondly, that throughout the whole range of the Roman law, there was, besides the Aryan elements which constituted its principal feature, a Semitic element unmistakably embodying the principle of divine absolutism, and which we again find cropping out in the forms of the Roman law.
—The Aryan races, considering the family as an organic whole, clearly recognized in it a principle of continuity, connecting one generation with another, and, as a natural consequence, certain family rights and privileges. This is one of the most essential conditions of civilization. If we surrender the laws of inheritance, we are given over to barbarism. The knowledge of the fact that not only the blood of the ancestor, but also the results of his labor and provident care are to be transmitted to future generations, is one of the strongest spurs to his activity and providence. If man does not provide beyond the present day, his life is of but little value; and all human progress would surely be impeded, if all should (in all things which go to sustain life and add to its pleasures) have to commence with sunrise and stop at sunset, only to commence over again the next day in the same manner. It is this very character of the law establishing a rule of inheritance, which promotes the development of civilization, by transmitting all achievements which are lasting in their effects, as a priceless heritage from one generation to another.
—The case is not different as regards the idea of property, and land ownership in particular. A sort of ownership in chattels is indeed to be found almost universally, though among certain nations the forms in which it appears are not very well defined, and lack the positive sanction of law. But as regards the right of property in land, it was very difficult for mankind to conceive it and to introduce it as a legal institution. The Semitic race attributed all ownership in land, not to man, but to God. The first attempt to recognize this right in man was made by the Aryans, but not for the first time in Europe, but in Asia, as is shown by the primitive laws of the Hindoos. It was they who first attempted to assert an ownership in the soil and to parcel it out, and who by this means tried to secure for man and his family a permanent home. On this fact, however, all improvements in the way of agriculture, all the higher forms of civilization, and the permanent condition of all legal institutions depend.
—When we pass from private law to public law, the peculiar character and the superior position of the Aryan races are even more conspicuous. It may well be said. The Aryan nations are in a special manner the political nations. All higher forms of human government and polity originated with the Aryans; and it is for this reason that they secured the vast political power by means of which they have become the rulers of almost the entire globe.
—A glance at the map (Berghaus has endeavored to give us an idea of this in his ethnographical atlas) will make manifest the universal sway of the Aryan races, which in some parts has already taken the shape of undisputed supremacy, while in others this supremacy is fast becoming a fact. Europe, the foremost of the great divisions of our globe, is throughout occupied by Aryan states. It is true, we can find nowhere a purely Aryan nation. Throughout Europe, the forces of history have removed the ancient landmarks which divided the different peoples and in a great degree produced an admixture of their elements. Different inferior races had inhabited Europe, before the Hellenic people entered into history, and before Rome was known among the nations. Subsequently the Celts and Slaves spread among these people, and still later among these the Germans, like a higher ethnological stratum over an inferior one. But, after all, the ruling element in an Romanic and Germanic states is of Aryan origin. The English (Norman, Saxon) race formed by an intermixture of these two nations (the Romanic and Germanic) which has taken the lead in spreading the rule of the Aryan race throughout the world, shows, at the present day, traces of its Aryan origin. Although the Slaves may have less of Aryan blood, than the rest of the European peoples, they still belong to that family of nations, and are under the educating influence of the more civilized Germanic and Romanic peoples. In Europe, both the Finnish and Basque elements, however, though they may be complete strangers to the Aryan stock (which certainly can not be said of the Magyars who, in the course of history, have taken in a good deal of the Aryan character) occupy no independent station and are of no special importance.
—That great division of our globe, moreover, which seems to be destined to succeed Europe, whenever she may be tired of rule in the supremacy of the world, and to regenerate mankind, America, is, of course, not yet settled as completely by the Aryan race; but it is at the present time completely controlled and governed by it. All the lands on the seacoast are occupied by Aryan colonists, by Romanic and Germanic people; the aborigines are ever falling back before the advance of the superior white race and are continually being diminished in number; or they submit wholly to the rule of the whites. And as far as the African race is concerned, it may be said, that, as a whole, they never seem to rise above a state of voluntary servitude.
—The ancient country of Asia, however, the primitive seat of all the nations of Aryan stock, has lost its supremacy, and is gradually coming under the government and control of both Europe and America. In the south, the English and the Dutch have established their dominion; in the north we find the Russians; in the west the French; while in the east, the Americans have made their first attempt to assert their influence. But there is still an ancient Asiatic branch of the Aryan stock in that country, which has again sought a more intimate relation with the European Aryans. This relation is continually gaining in strength, and is certainly calculated to help the spread of the Aryan supremacy in Asia too. To this branch of the Aryan stock belong the Hindoos in India, the Parsees in Persia, the Afghans, Kurds, Armenians, the Circassians, etc.
—Among all the rest, Africa (the most inferior and backward in civilization) is the only country to which the Aryans have yet paid little attention. The important northern coasts of Africa are, at the present day, more under the influence of the Semitic than of the Aryan race. It is a fact, however, that they were early exposed to the influences of the culture which started from European Rome; and France has again made a recent effort to transmit to that part of the globe the fruits of Aryan civilization. And besides this, some of the most important points along the coasts of Africa (to the north, south and east) are settled by Europeans; and by this means a firm basis is secured for the extensive spread of Aryan civilization, whose tendency is to encompass the whole world.
—This universal supremacy of the Aryan nations will be fully secured in the end by their undoubted superiority on the seas.
—The whole of Polynesia is in their possession. All coasts, the sea, all rivers, all harbors are dependent on them. All means of transportation are in their hands.
—This supremacy is but evidence of the superior political intelligence and capacity of the Aryan nations. We indeed find political institutions among inferior nations too. But the government of these nations is vastly inferior as compared with the political institutions and governments of the Aryan races. And wherever they show traces of a higher character, we can, in the majority of cases, show these to have been due to the influence of men of Aryan blood. The Semitic race, primitively related to the Aryans, seems to be the one race which wrought out and followed a principle of polity of its own. But, in point of fact, there is a distinct difference between the Semitic and the Aryan idea of government and its polity; and no doubt the idea of the Aryans on this point is the wider in its range and the nobler in form, as shown by its outward development and realization among mankind. The Semitic races are thoroughly theocratic in sentiment. And theocracy has continued to be their ideal even when they, by the force of circumstances and the ruling powers, were compelled to submit to a different form of government. In Europe even, where the theocratic system was at no time looked upon with favor, we find a small number of ingenious men—representatives of the Semitic race—who, when they assume the character of political leaders, very frequently show themselves the advocates of a government under the immediate and absolute direction of divine authority. The political ideal of the Aryans, on the other hand, is evidently that system of government which is organized in accordance with the true and permanent instincts of human nature, and is controlled by the powers of reason in man.
—The distinction we have traced here in the political ideals of the different races receives additional support by a further fact of history. It was not until the Aryans succeeded in the attempt, that the essential distinction between a clerical body (the church) and the body politic (the state) between religion and politics, was clearly apprehended, and the separation of the state and church was effected; on which more than on all else the more refined and civilized sentiments of humanity depend. This is the best proof that the Aryan nations have a clear conception of the true nature and organization of the state.
—Proceeding from these general considerations to details, we succeed in tracing out the primitive ideas controlling the public laws of the Aryans. Among all the people of Aryan stock, in their earlier days, we find a body of freemen as the basis of their polity, and forming the principal part of the nation. It is, in a certain sense, the general rule regulating the primitive and elementary forms of human life. It participates in the making and administering of the public laws, and in the public affairs of the nation. In this body of free men the honor and the liberties of the people have their origin and support. What we, in our days, term the rights of citizenship, is but the modern expression of what, in ancient times, was embraced in the honor and liberties of this race. How different is the fact with the people belonging to an inferior race, who have not the slightest conception of this idea, and among whom the masses are either oppressed like slaves, or live in a wild state of nature! With them a slavish submission, or a continual warfare of all against all, is the rule.
—However, the Aryan races do not stop short of this idea of popular freedom, which, as sanctioned by the state, is political in its nature. As they have a particular regard for the honor and dignity of man, it is quite natural that they should measure and value men by this standard, and, in consequence of this, be apt to perceive and establish distinctions among men. The principle of absolute equality among men, is a non-Aryan idea; the Aryan people hold to and consider certain distinctions, because given to closer examination. We consequently find among all the Aryan nations certain strong distinctions among the population which are fully recognized by these nations. Among the Hindoos these distinctions have become fixed with great rigor in the form of an immutable system of castes. Among other Aryan nations, especially among the European, these distinctions have retained their fluctuating character. They have entered into the moving process of history, and change with the change of the times. The mummy-like castes of the Hindoos have, in Europe, taken the shape of estates, as wrought out by the traditions of history; and European history is essentially determined by the history of these estates. Whoever has not learned to regard these distinctions in the population and the mutations to which they have been subject, in course of time, will never gain a clear insight into the history of European states.
—The divisions of the people into estates is shown in the oldest myths of the Aryans, while we may discover, at the same time, a clear distinction, on this point, between the religious views and the political views of the people. The religious views lay the greatest stress on the relation of man to God, and hence on the equality of men before God. They hold, in the first place, all men to be the children of the one Lord (brethren) and as such to be equal one to another. This point of view is certainly, as far as religion and its revelations are concerned, the most important and essential. But the state can not absolutely base itself on this principle of equality. As it is the business of the state to regulate human relations and conditions, it must pay due regard also to the differences between men, which exist side by side with that equality. To order or regulate, after all, means nothing but to perceive and protect the true relations of all differences. As the state is the regulating principle and power among men, it naturally presupposes distinctions among them.
—This remarkable contrast between religious and political views is shown even in the most ancient legends concerning the origin of man. While the Semitic people, in their legend of the creation of Adam, forcibly point out the unity and equality of the human race (being entirely under the influence of the religious sentiment) the Hindoos and the Germanic people (the two extremes in the series of Aryan nations) indicate, in their versions of the creation, the distinction which obtains among the different races and classes.
—It is true, that, according to the Hindoo view, the divine principle (Brahma) generated all men, but in different grades, after the manner in which in the creation of the higher class the superior forces of nature were at work, while in the lower classes inferior agencies were engaged. Thus Brahma, according to the ancient myth of the Hindoos, generated the men of a higher grade by causing them to issue from his mouth. They are the living word of God. Then he causes the tribe of warriors to spring from his arm. They represent the strength and power of God. After the warriors came the Aryans proper (the Vaisyas) the offspring of the loins; in which process we may perceive an attempt to imitate the natural process of generation. Last of all, came the caste of the serfs (the Sudras) from the feet of God. In like manner, though reversed in order, the process of man's creation is represented in the Germanic legend of the Edda, in which the Creator begins with the serfs and ascending to the free men generates, as the highest class, the nobility. The idea represented in all these legends is substantially this: that human laws and systems of government are all based on this distinction establishing the different classes. And, indeed, change as these distinctions may in detail, it always remains true that no high system of government is conceivable without paying some regard to certain differences within the vast extent of a populous state.
—The Aryan nations are consequently distinguished, from the very first, by their organizing ability in which we are bound to recognize the chief power at work in the building up of governments and states. The most important factor in this work is the principle of leadership. All the nations we know of, had, in one form or another, in the beginnings of their history, chiefs whom the rest of their tribe obeyed. But, while some nations worshiped their leaders as gods or demi-gods, and others believed that their chiefs acted mainly under divine inspiration; while others, again, without thinking of God, trembled before the despotic power of their masters, and some submitted, for the time being, to the greater prowess of their leaders, the Aryans recognized in their leaders human beings, and the relation of the people to their chiefs as a moral one. Originally, all Aryan nations, in all probability, started out with the idea of the family as an organic institution. This was quite natural for humanity still in its childhood. As the father is the head of the family and the household, the oldest (patriarch) is, in like manner, the head of the gentes and the tribe; and the head of greater bodies which embrace several families, is, in the same way, considered the father of his community and the country they occupy. In language we have the evidence of this primitive Aryan idea of the state. The Hindoos called their chiefs viçpati (vici pater) the father of the community; and we find the same word in Europe in the Lithuanic, wies-pati, which signifies a gentleman, a ruler of the country. In the same manner we find in the Teutonic word kuning—king—(from kun, clan), a reference to the primitive rule of the gentes. This, however, signifies a great deal. The entire power of the government is thus defined by conceptions which are the natural off-spring of the human mind; it is subject to their subtle influence, and a certain sense of piety gives color to the relation between the powers that govern and those who are governed. The paternal chieftain has indeed great privileges and superior authority, but not without also having certain duties toward the members of the same family; he is united with them in the one organic body, a family on a larger scale.
—Yet this is simply the first germ, the beginning of development. When a people have become conscious of the wide range of their tribal connections, then the ideas of the family and the state part company. The growing state breaks through the close form of the family, and rises, in its superior character, above the family. The Mongolian people, though widespread and large in numbers, and inhabiting kingdoms whose territory is immense, are still content with the idea of a patriarchal government. But the Aryan races have all discarded this idea. Their thoughts of the state have gone beyond the childlike notions they may have had in the beginning, and their institutions have assumed more imposing proportions, a wider range. When history with her mighty and opposing forces lights upon the vast range of human relations, then the narrow principle of paternal rule will lose its former hold, and the states which are now trembling with political commotion will be beyond the control of the pious influences which a patriarchal system may set to work.
—And now, the terms, too, which designate the head of the people (the ruling power) are fraught with a higher meaning. They embody new ideas. In the Aryan languages, there are chiefly two words, in addition to that mentioned, corresponding to king both of which well characterize the idea which the people had formed of kingship. The old kingly name of the Hindoos is rag, the same word which we find again in Europe—among the Romans as rex, among the Gael as righ, among the Goths as reiks, to which also the German word, richter, is closely related. The root, rag, means a pure, brilliant light, but also the right; and hence we may say that light and right suggested to them the ideas of government; that they considered their kings as the propagators of light and the defenders of right: an idea which, therefore, was not projected (as the advocates of darkness and absolute power claim) from the crater of the French revolution, to spread its burning flames throughout the world, but forms part of the primitive stock of ideas which have been handed down to us through the ages by the undying agencies of tradition. The king of the Aryan people, first in his royal station, is a lover of light, as he is the fountainhead and defender of right—he is a king within the law. He recognizes the rights of others and protects those rights, while possessed of and exercising the highest prerogative.
—There is still another word which is taken from military life. Kshatra in the Zend means king, and, in the Hindoo vedas, Xatra signifies power, strength; xatrija the warrior. With these words the Greek and the designation of the different forms of government, democracy and aristocracy agree. And related in sense are also the Roman imperium and imperator. These serve to designate the kingly power essential in, as well as increased by, war. Might and right are alike essential to the kingship. Judgeship and military rule are the two principal functions of the ancient kings. In this they are superior to the ancient vispati.
—With these Aryan ideas, the history of the Aryan people is in perfect harmony. It is true, that in certain periods of their history, and under the influence of foreign elements, they, too, were subjected to the rule of absolute power, but they did not remain under it permanently. They have, at all times, either directly or indirectly, established a government controlled by law whereby the prerogatives of kingship, too, were defined and essentially qualified. It is not the system of absolute government, but that of a constitutional government which is in keeping with the character of the Aryan people. And for this reason the Aryan people are so much superior to the large body of people who are ruled by a despotic power; and their kings (the civilized leaders of free nations) are far above those miserable despots who simply look down upon their subjects as upon a wretched body of uncivilized slaves.
—Not only the head of the body politic, but also the rest of its constituent elements are regulated by the Aryans according to human experience and reason. They less expect, than the Semitic race, the principle of governmental polity and organization to be conveyed to them by divine inspiration, a sentiment which naturally leads to an absolute or modified rule of the priesthood; but they devote their best thought and reasoning powers to the apprehending of the true nature and province of the state, and by this means try to discover the rules which should govern their common conduct as a people. In an inferior stage, when the human mind is yet unable to comprehend the principle of organic growth, the idea of number appears to it the systematizing principle which it employs in perfecting an organizations. When we read, in the laws of Manu, (vii. 115, 121), that ten towns constitute a district, ten districts a province, ten provinces a state, we are at once reminded of the fact that, in Europe, the Germanic nations follow out the same idea in their primitive constitutions which we find among their Aryan cousins in India.
—Another Aryan trait is the tendency of these peoples toward perfection. We may trace this tendency throughout the whole history of the Aryan race, and it is the motive principle of their politics. For this very reason they are the political people. The famous saying of Aristotle, that man is a political animal, appears in its true light only when applied to the character of the Aryan people. While other bodies of people place the highest value on the quiet enjoyment of the fruits of life, and dread first of all the idea of being disturbed in their quiet, it is the tendency of the man of Aryan stock to improve and refine the conditions of human society. He favors the progress of civilization. His efforts are directed toward developing and exalting the state. There is no danger great enough to drive him back, there is no sacrifice so dear that he is not willing to make it for the accomplishment of his object. It is to this struggling and onward spirit of the Aryan race (trying to overcome the opposing forces of nature and history) that all the higher civilization of mankind is, in great part, due. Religious ideas and sentiments alone have not been able to bring about the results of civilization; it is only because aided by political ideas and sentiments that mankind was able to make those splendid achievements which, through the long ages of history, have enriched and ennobled humanity. If we take away this political tendency from the history of nations. Europe would again relapse into that dull state of implicit faith which, for ages, has been the lot of the people of Asia.
—Of course, this political tendency has been chiefly active in the minds of the European Aryans, and has, for the first time, developed its full energy among them. But, that the Hindoos and Persians have also been largely endowed with this faculty is a fact amply proven by their labors in science and their attempts at political organization. The Hindoo system of castes would be impossible, were it not for the fact that it secured the possibility of an advance from a lower to a higher rank (which is indeed denied during this life to those who are associated in one caste) in the regenerated life of the hereafter; and that it gives promise of this advance in the life hereafter, as the reward for the willing discharge of all duties on earth. The dread of losing, for thousands of years to come, the chance of improving their condition, keeps the Hindoos of the lower castes tied down to a strict observance of the dividing lines between the different castes and of their religious ceremonial.
—Finally, it is quite evident that, if the Aryans are, by way of preference, to be considered the political nations, and if all political civilization has proceeded from them, the science of the state is a tree of Aryan knowledge. And such is indeed the fact. With the political literature of the Hellenic people, and that of the Romans, as well as that of the Romanic and Germanic people, the literature of no other nation can be compared. And as the Romanic and Germanic nations are, in the present system of the world, taking the lead in the political life of nations, they are likewise taking the lead in the advancement of political science.
—To express, in a few words, what we have considered on a larger scale, in the foregoing pages, we may say: The Aryan mind, more richly endowed from the very beginning, and destined to develop its independent individuality in the highest degree, is also destined to enlighten mankind with its ideas and principles of government and law. It is to assume and hold the rule of the world which is already in the hands of the Aryan people, with a spirit friendly to all that is true and noble in humanity; and to do this, it is charged with the duty of spreading the refining influence of its superior civilization among the rest of mankind. History has imposed this task upon the people of the Aryan race, and the duty being theirs, they have also the right to fulfill it.
MAX. EBERHARDT, Tr.
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