Political Sociology: A Reader

By S. N. Eisenstadt | Go to book overview

Kushāṇa power in Northern India. Among the republican peoples of this phase we may mention the names of the Kunindas, the Yaudheyas, and the Mālavas, who issued coins in the names of their respective republics (gaas) or States (janapadas). In the inscriptions of some of these peoples as well as in an interesting discussion of this type of polity in the Mahābhārata we may detect a tendency towards concentration of the ruling and deliberative authority in the hands of a select few. This was evidently due to the urgent necessity of safeguarding the independence of the republics against the ambition of neighbouring powerful kings. The end came in the first half of the fourth century after Christ when all the republics of Northern India, along with a number of minor monarchies, were absorbed in the Empire of the Imperial Guptas.


NOTES
1.
The present paper is based upon a number of the writer's previous publications, where full references are given throughout. These are, in the first place, A History of Hindu Public Life, Part I (Period of the Vedic Sahitās, the Brāhmaas, and the Older Upanishads), Studies in Indian History and Culture (Chapters VIII, IX, X and XI entitled "The Genius of Ancient Indian Polity," "The Vedic Ceremonies and Their Political and Constitutional Significance," "Vedic Political Institutions," "The Ancient Indian Republican and Mixed Constitutions from the Sixth Century B.C. to the Third Century A.D.," and "The Status and Functions of the King's Ministers in Ancient Indian Polity"), and A History of Indian Political Ideas (Chapters II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X). To the above have to be added the writer's chapters on "Political Theory and Administrative Organisation," in Volumes III, IV and V of the work History and Culture of the Indian People (edited by R. C. Majumdar) as well as his chapter on "Political Organisation (Post-Mauryan)" in the work A Comprehensive History of India, Vol. II (edited by K. A. Nilakanta Sastri).

43
The New Bureaucratic Elite

Hans Rosenberg

The composition of the civil and military service elites of the Hohenzollern state was indicative of some of the major social changes which crystallized everywhere with the growth of the monarch's personal powers and of bureaucratic organization on a large scale. Since absolute government and the expansion of the dynastic labor market opened up fresh sources of differentiation, the stratification of society grew more complex. By giving rise to novel segments of the governing class, absolutism disturbed and confused the old social system, built on birth and privilege, on hierarchy and hereditary estate distinctions (ständische Gesellschaft).

The new civil and military bureaucracies constituted professional classes of great functional and political importance. Hence they were recognized by their creator, the sovereign ruler, as superior status groups. Having like organizational state and a common way of life as "royal servants," they formed two distinct occupational estates (Berufsstände), an estate of administrative government officials (Beam

tenstand) and an estate of military officers (Offiziersstand). These hierarchies of appointed and removable dynastic employees did not fit into the neatly defined divisions of the traditional society of northeastern Germany, the essential features of which had been the rigorous partition into hereditary estates (Geburtsstände), into closed, caste-like legal classes. In such a society "man was not man"; he was either superior, common, or inferior.

The nobility, being superior to all other groups in power, privilege, and prestige, had formed the First Estate (Adelsstand), the upper class. The commoners or burghers, i.e., the permanent town residents subject to municipal law and administration, being only "second class people" in influence and rights, had constituted the Second Estate (Bürgerstand), the middle class, inferior to the nobility but superior to the peasantry. At the bottom of the scale had stood the "inferiors," the Third Estate (Bauernstand), identical with the rural masses, mostly peasant serfs. 1

The formation of new upper class strata, made up of the holders of the higher positions in the civil and military bureaucracies, complicated social rankings. But their emergence also reacted on the relations

____________________
From Hans Rosenberg, Bureaucracy, Aristocracy, and Autocracy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958), pp. 70-74. Copyright 1958 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

-301-

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