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Both the ancient Mesopotamian and ancient Egyptian civilizations began in river valleys in dry climates. Both civilizations modified their environment in a number of ways. For example, they built canals and dams, which provided water for farming and saved their cities from flooding and drought. Both of these regions thrived for thousands of years. Think about how important it is for a government to provide a stable food supply, laws, and protection for a civilization to thrive. Based on what you’ve learned about ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, what kind of leadership does such a civilization need? What does a government need to do to protect the way of life for its people? Can you think of any instances when the government did not attend to the needs of the people?

2 Answers
Mar 13, 2018

Decisive actions


The government of those people obviously had to have control over the population, like all countries today.

Do not think that governments back then were very different from our own. The governments we have now are based on the ones in the past.

The kind of leadership required is the one where the leaders listen to what is necessary to do for society. Not necessarily listen to the people, but to what needs to be done.

If there is a plague in one part of town, seal it and use lethal force to contain it.
Harsh but decisive and necessary actions.

The governments also had to keep up the army so that frequent foreign invaders could not ruin all your civilization has built.

Successful civilizations are the ones that managed to keep the people united and organized. Look at Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Roman Empire. They were all very organized and had achieved great economy.
Strength in numbers is an understatement.

The leader(s) can also not be short of actions. If there is a pressing matter that needs your immediate response, a weak leader is not appropriate. That's why dictatorships fall - the first leader is good at ruling, but his son might not have it in him.

The key is to keep the people organized and on the side of the government.

"Give them bread and circuses, and they will never revolt." -Juvenal

Mar 14, 2018

Civilization demands a government to organize the efforts of the people and regulate the interactions of the people.


The building of dams, canals, and food storage facilities requires community and effort and cooperation. Some form of strong government is required to enforce cooperation.

The wealth created by intensive agriculture creates problems. The rivalry between members of the society requires a government to determine and arbitrate between the winners and the losers. The jealousy and greed created by the wealth fosters crime. A strong government is required to prevent and protect the citizens from crime.

Another problems wealth creates is the threat from outside forces. Through out the history of the world "peaceful" farmers have been raided and robbed by nomadic warriors. The seven Samurai is movie about the farmers needing protection. The people in Egypt and Mesopotamia had to give up some of their freedom and wealth to fund a government that could protect them from outside raiders.

Once established governments formed to protect the people can become agents that exploit and oppress the people. The French revolution occurred because the government was treating the poor unfairly. Animal Farm illustrates how the communist soviet government exploited the common workers and people.

A complex society requires a government to regulate the economy and structure of the civilization. The danger is that the government instead of protecting the people will persecute the people.