In my universe, there are sixteen species from the Homo genus: anatomically modern humans, marine humans (merfolk), winged humans (angels), demons, ogres, giants, dwarfs, elves, orcs, gnomes, trolls, goblins, halflings, furry humans (therianthropes), hematophagous humans (vampires), and magical humans (wizards). Some of them prefer monarchies, others prefer republics, some prefer statist/authoritarian/totalitarian states, others prefer liberal/libertarian/anarchist states.

  1. Most countries mostly populated by anatomically modern humans are democracies (of various types).
  2. Merfolk live in a matriarchal, matrilinear, federal, constitutional, and elective monarchy (an empire to be exact: the Head of State is the Empress, and the equivalents to American governors are the seven Queens).
  3. Angels live in a patriarchal but matrilinear theocracy ruled by four celibate priests.
  4. Demons live in a matriarchal but patrilinear, absolute, and hereditary monarchy.
  5. Ogres live in a matriarchal, matrilinear, and tribal society (if someone wants to be the Big Chief, she must win a wrestling tournament, but, there is distribution of power).
  6. Giants also live in a matriarchal and matrilinear tribal society (there are both elections and distribution of power).
  7. Dwarfs live in a patriarchal, patrilinear, presidential, unitary, and hereditary republic (a hereditary republic means the title of president is passed to the son of the ruler when he dies like Haiti's Duvalier dynasty, except that they have limited power instead of being despots).
  8. Elves live in a patriarchal, patrilinear, federal, constitutional, and elective triarchy (a principality to be exact).
  9. Orcs live in a warrior state à la Genghis Khan.
  10. Gnomes live in a patriarchal, patrilinear, and tribal society (there are elections, but no distribution of power).
  11. Trolls live in a patriarchal, patrilinear, and tribal society (the title of Big Chief is hereditary, but there is distribution of power).
  12. Goblins live in a Singapore-like benevolent dictatorship.
  13. Halflings live in a patriarchal, patrilinear, parliamentary, federal, and elective republic (except there are three presidents and three prime ministers simultaneously) (this is comparable to ancient Rome).
  14. Therianthropes live in a Somalia-like anarchist state.
  15. Vampires live in a matriarchal but patrilinear, unitary, absolute but elective monarchy (a kingdom to be exact).
  16. Wizards live in a matriarchal and matrilinear theocracy with an Indian-like caste system (except that priests and priestesses can marry and have children, either biologically or by adoption).

So, I wonder why would each species from the Homo genus have a different preferred political system.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Why would each species from the Homo genus have a different preferred political system": Because the author is lazy? Because the story is told in episodic format and any complication would be too heavy for the readers or watchers? Because the story is not really about the gnomes and quarterlings, but about general human conditions, and the nomes and eighthlings are just foils, like the talking animals of La Fontaine? Because there are actually few of them, and all those political structures are those of the one group of mere folk and thirdlings? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    May 2, 2022 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ You numbered your critters so it's very easy to see that this post has 16 separate questions in it. We have a 1 question per post policy on this site. A benevolent dictatorship of goblins and a matrilinear theocracy of wizards definitely came to be through different means. It's likely that even if you did edit this down to ask about only one society it would probably still be a poor fit since you're effectively asking us to make up the political history of your society for you. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 2, 2022 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ "Most countries mostly populated by anatomically modern humans are democracies (of various types)." This is marginally true at best today ("as of the end of 2017, 57% of 167 countries with populations of at least 500000 were democracies of some kind"), and certainly untrue integrated over history. If you're asking for an explanation of Homo Sapiens with distinctly different behavior than observed in our universe (unified governmental preference), maybe that's a complicated enough starting point to be a better question than bringing all the fantasy races into things? $\endgroup$
    – addaon
    May 2, 2022 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ I am confused by your usage of matrilinear and patrilinear. How would a matrilinear, patriarchal society work? Women inherit property and titles but do not actually control it? Also how would m/patrilinearity manifest itself in an elective monarchy, where the line of succession is fully detached from the bloodline? I am also confused about your usage of noble titles. Our term principality is an artifact of the history of noble houses and has specific meaning with regards to the noble rank of the ruler. Is the same true for elves? $\endgroup$
    – xyldke
    May 2, 2022 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ And even more questions: How do the Halfling presidents/prime ministers share power? Is there a geographical component like in ancient rome? Is there an ethnic component like in Bosnia Herzegovina? How does a hereditary republic function? Is it just a benevolent dictatorship by another name? Perhaps it would be better if, instead of relying on terms from our world (which are open to interpretation and debate), you described how the societies and governments actually function in your world. $\endgroup$
    – xyldke
    May 2, 2022 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


The first factor has to be how the genetics drive social behavior. Modern humans are partial social creatures. If you have creatures that have no social genetics, then there won't be any political system. You will have individuals fighting for their territory. Compare chimpanzee and Bonobo social behavior.

The next factor has to be population density. When humans are so sparse as to only be in small family groups, there isn't much of a political system. We developed political systems only when there were enough people and enough spare resources that we could have hierarchies.

Another factor is how easy is it to travel between groups so that a hierarchy can communicate to different groups. When it takes a few months to travel from one group to another, it is almost impossible to have any hierarchal control. The Roman empire could spread a wide distance because of all the cities in between. They also worked on roads and bridges to reduce the time to travel between points.

The next factor can be how status is identified in those hierarchies. When status is identified by a woman having many children and by being a descendant of her, then matrilinear is likely.

Beyond that, different societies have different histories that influence the political structure. Groups that remember rebelling against an oppressive government will tend to be more democratic and egalitarian. Groups that remember needing to fight off invaders and remembering how a leader rallied everyone to successfully fight may have more hierarchal structure. It might help to identify how often "raiding" and warfare happen. Agricultural societies often have slavery. Sometimes, the "remembered history" is only oral and made up of myths and wishful thinking of how they want history to be. Don't ignore the impact of "superstitious behavior" and coincidental actions.

The different folk in Middle Earth each had a different history and thus, different political systems.

In the end, politics is about how people interact and trade with each other. Do they trade goods and coins or blood and weapons?


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