Hippolyte Taine and the History of English Literature

The family is a natural state, primitive and restrained, as the state is an artificial family, ulterior and expanded; and amongst the differences arising from the number, origin, and condition of its members, we discover in the small society as in the great, a like disposition of the fundamental intelligence which assimilates and unites them.  Now suppose that this element receives from circumstances, race, or epoch certain special marks, it is clear that all the groups into which it enters, will be modified proportionately.  If the sentiment of obedience is merely fear, you will find, as in most Oriental states, a brutal despotism, exaggerated punishment, oppression of the subject, servility of manners, insecurity of property, an impoverished production, the slavery of women, and the customs of the harem.

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