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In this essay I will aim to answer the question, "Where, When & Why did the first states form?" This is an important question as the development of the states, is the turning point in civilisation from chiefdoms

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Introduction

Global Trends In this essay I will aim to answer the question, "Where, When & Why did the first states form?" This is an important question as the development of the states, is the turning point in civilisation from chiefdoms into a society, which is very similar to the one, which we live in today. The state can be defined many ways by different organisations; political theorists, historians, archaeologists and anthropologists all use different definitions. I will define the state as having a centralised government with, an elite ruling class of powerful families and rulers, a bureaucracy of government and ruling officials, an armed group which maintain a legitimate monopoly on force to impose decisions, and maintain law and order. There must also be economic specialists, full time crafts people, like artists and poets. Also by definition a state has an urban centred settlement pattern, as it could be described simply as an overgrown chiefdom. There are two basic philosophical views for why the primary states developed. One was of social needs, which states that a central government was necessary, as the rulers i.e. the elite, of the early states were naturally problem solvers, and the manager elites are "system serving". The second theory is that central government developed to protect the interests of the ruling class. ...read more.

Middle

In Mesoamerica the earliest city state developed in around 200bc, in an area called the valley of Oaxaca, which was accompanied by a rapid population change, which points to the fact that states, cause population growth due to the concentration of the population. Also as Oaxaca grew, there was economic intensification, specialization and urbanization, which are all key elements of the emergence of the state. Another large city-state developed in the Mesoamerican era, in the valley of Mexico at Teotihuacan, which began around 150bc. This state had a large urban centre, which was around 13 kilometres square, and had a vast population, which included craftspeople and administrators. The population of the developing states would have to diversify, due to the fact that as the population grows, people with similar agrarian backgrounds will have to develop a specific niche in order to maintain, prosperity. At Teotihuacan, there were also large trading areas, which, were occupied by foreign merchants, and also merchants from near by Oaxaca. These large urban centres, intensified the literacy and craft specialization, and so these centres became the basis for centralised administration. The first Egyptian state developed from 3100bc to 2700bc, by the end of this era, like in Mesopotamia the state had developed into a literate, bureaucratically administered, urban-based society with established political leadership and extensive social and economic differentiation. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the consequences of state development are, increased production and distribution, sometimes leading to inter-state trading. Which leads onto increased communication between different civilisations and cultures. As production has increased many people have been freed, from food production, which allows specialization to occur and so the culture of the society matures, and art, music and literature thrive. There are also negative consequences as class conflict, comes to the for-front of society as, society diversifies and class culture becomes prevalent. Also warfare increases as states expand by conquests and so there will always be tension between different states. This also can lead to an increase in epidemics and diseases, which harm the population as a whole. Interestingly, there does seem to be a correlation between increased social and economic differentiation and political forms from chiefdoms form states. Which could be a reason for the independent development of states, at similar times. But without a single origin for the development of the state, no single reason can be made, for why states develop, whether it is physicality or organisational structure. I believe that the development of the state, is a natural progression from that of chiefdoms, as populations increase, organisation must also increase, in order to maintain the population, and so as a direct affect of this public resources will increase also, and as trade and communication increase amongst developing states, ideas will be exchanged and so, states will grow exponentially. ...read more.

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