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Books – The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

Books – The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

Political order begins in ancient China, says political scientist and author Francis Fukuyama. By the time of the Chin dynasty in 221 B.C., some how 10,000 individual chiefdoms had merged into one state. What had happened? In short: the state evolved to allow for a more effective making of war. A strategy which proved to be successful in other countries as well.

Fukuyama is concerned mostly with the cultural, not biological, aspects of human society. But he explicitly assumes that human social nature is universal and is built around certain evolved behaviors. For example, our propensity for warfare, and our desire to create and follow rules, are part of our wiring. In this book, Fukuyama attempts to understand how humans moved from tribal and familial connections to organized institutions of states and governments. “In the developed world,” he writes, “we take the existence of a government so much for granted that we sometimes forget how difficult it was to create.”

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution is available in the UA Library

Image via Flickr / frontpersatuannasional

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