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Old 02-24-2021, 10:01 AM   #684
jason taylor
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Imagine a republic (loosely defined) emerging from a beginning a little like the Roman Republic, but in a Western cultural pattern.

The founders of the state were all males and heads of extrended families, and they designed the state's constitution partly around a concept a bit like the early-Roman 'gens'. The mature Republic has a three-chamber legislature:

1. The popular chamber is elected by the general public along traditional Western lines, i.e. the U.S. House of Representatives or the House of Commons.

2. This chamber is made up of appointed members, along the lines of the UK House of Lords (life peers) or the Canadian Senate. If the Republic is federal in nature, this chamber might instead or also be made up of representatives of the federal components, like the original form of the U.S. Senate. The existence of the second house might be optional, there might be no second house unless a specific purpose for it existed.

3. This is the exotic chamber. Each of the founders of the state also founded a 'gens', the blood-line descendants (presumably patrilineal but other arrangements could exist), and all the direct descendants make up that gens. The head (laird, chief, whatever) of the gens/clan sits in the third house and casts the vote for his gens. The headship might be transmitted by primogeniture, but it might possibly more likely go to the oldest member of the gens. Either way, it's passed down within the family.

The head of state has to be chosen from among the heads of the clans in the third house, though most likely with the approval of the two lower chambers.

Where it gets really complicated and exotic is that the voting power of a clan head depends on the size of his clan. So if Clan A, descended from Founder A, has twenty million people, and Clan B descended from Founder B has 90 million, the clan head B has 9 votes (say) to Clan head A's 2 votes. Or something along those lines, the bigger the clan, the more voting power in the third house.

Which in turn means that rules about who qualifies as being part of what 'gens' are absolutely critical! For ex, can you be 'adopted' into a gens? If so, that gives the great clans a huge incentive to adopt new members. If a member of clan A marries a member of Clan B, which Clan are they part of, and which Clan are their kids part of? I suspect that marriage rules would require that inter-clan marriage means that one of the spouses leaves their native clan to join the other.

This could work several ways. It could be that the couple chooses which clan, or maybe the wife always joins the husband's clan, or vice versa. This rule would have a huge effect on the popularity of inter-clan marriage. For ex, say the wife leaves the native clan to joint the husband's clan, and the kids belong to the father's clan.

In that case, small clans have a vested interest in their males marrying out, but in their women marrying within the clan. Big clans have the same interest but with far less intensity.

OTOH, if a couple chooses which Clan they are part of, then Clans might compete to be the 'preferred' clan, while individual families might put tremendous pressure on their young people to only marry out-clan if they can find a mate that will join their native clan.

The permutations are almost endless. What is the clan-status of 'illegitimate' offspring? What does divorce do in inter-clan marriages? Is there any acknowledged divorce?

It also means that there's a strong political pressure toward big families, since the bigger the clan, the more voting power in the third house. There might be all sorts of official and unofficial incentives toward large families.

Political parties of the traditional sort might well exist in the first house, with the traditional franchise, and might cut across Clan lines, since it would be elected 'normally'. The third house might have parties within the clans,
but would seem to serve little function across Clan lines for the third house.

There would probably be some legal (and probably more unofficial) powers of the elders of the Clan over the general membership. Exactly what those would be could vary, and would have a significant effect on how the whole system operated.
I don't separate the clans from the lords. Rather the noble titles have votes attached to their estates and vote in the same house as the chiefs. As many chiefs are also nobles and the lowest level of nobility is in the gift of whatever chief it is given to as soon as a title is emptied there are more overlaps. The last has an interesting subtlety: titles in industrial parts of town are used to play politics with but titles in residential ones are often given to descendants of previous holders (exceptions include such things as the local inhabitants appealing that a given heir is to obnoxious to be given power).
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
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