How Did Governments Begin?

Present day government grew out of the family and clan organization that made up ancient tribes. Some people working together to lead or control a group of others formed the beginnings of government.

Primitive governments were tied in closely to religion, with the king or chief of a tribe also the high priest. As cultures grew and people learned to read and write, primitive government expanded.

The earliest forms of organized government began in the Mesopotamian, Chinese, Egyptian, and Persian civilizations in 3500 B.C. They were called city-states. Each city and its surrounding farmland were under the rule of a central government. Then these groups developed absolute government, in which one man was given total control over all areas of the city’s life.

In 1000 B.C., experiments in new forms of government led slowly to the development of Athenian democracy. The Greek words demos (people) and kratos (rule or authority) made up our word democracy. In this early Greek democracy, every male served in the government assembly, passing laws and making decisions.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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