There is a simplistic model of history that roughly goes:
In the beginning people wandered the land with pointy sticks and the most masculine guy beat up all the other guys and made himself king. Societies were governed by those who were most brutal.
Even Marx had a more sophisticated model than this - as I recall he postulated an idyllic pre-communist society before the invention of evil capitalists where people sang songs and played games and there was no conflict. Because of course there can be no conflict without capital.
Both models contradict what we know of preagricultsural societies, most of which are formed on models of big men. My understanding is that current models assume that hunter-gatherer societies are so interdependent governance takes place within the context of a carefully maintained consensus. Certain individuals are recognized to have greater influence or wisdom, and their opinions matter more.
I recall a theory that when such tribes cross certain thresholds of complexity, Chieftains emerge with relatively defined powers (an unwritten constitution), balanced by alternative institutions (such as the warrior societies and women's lodges of the Amerindians).
There is another threshold which catapaults the Chieftains to Kingship; in Western Europe Kingship was originally based on the ability to lead in war (elected by peer war leaders), and eventually codified into lineages through a strong desire to avoid civil conflict.
Obviously any theory that attempts to encapsulate the manifold complexity of human social conduct into less than a dozen discrete stages will be grossly flawed, but it can still be a useful model (more useful for example than the "men with pointy sticks" model).
- Is there a name for this theory/model?
- Can someone articulate it more clearly?
- Is there a more useful model? Has a superior model emerged??
- Is there a model of enfranchisement through social development? (Aside: I'd actually be particularly interested in what might be called fractional enfranchisement social structures and institutions that accord (formally or informally) different individuals different levels of franchise.)
I'd also like to apologize to OP for hijacking the question