I am continuing to work on the animal society as dictated in this question here.

Basic Summary:

  1. Certain groups of animals have attained human-level intelligence. The details of species are laid out in my previous question. TL;DR version is Eastern North American & Western European species of non-domesticated species, though I've dialed back the population to be about 1% of the total population of each species that were granted this boost in intelligence.

Human intelligence is the intellectual capacity of humans, which is characterized by perception, consciousness, self-awareness, and volition. Through their intelligence, humans possess the cognitive abilities to learn, form concepts, understand, apply logic, and reason, including the capacities to recognize patterns, comprehend ideas, plan, problem solve, make decisions, retaining, and use language to communicate. Intelligence enables humans to experience and think.

  1. Our total population is made up of herbivores and carnivores, who have chosen to live peacefully together due to their shared intelligence. They have come to the conclusion that as they are such a small group and because their existence is so unusual, they should stick together for safety from humans and other non-intelligent creatures. They number in the hundreds, with 15-30 members of each species or so? Still working on exact numbers.

  2. Rats and other rodents that had been living in close proximity to humans are regarded as the wisest, and have become the teachers and advisors for the rest of the animal population. As such, they draw most of their inspiration from human governments and methods that they have observed.

  3. As stated in my previous question, this all takes place at the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution, putting our time period at 1760-1800. We are also assuming that the animals have been able to observe the fledgling American Democracy and the English and French monarchies (rats who have traveled across the Atlantic can bring news of each system of government).

So, I've managed to get them intelligent, and get them together, where they have formed the beginnings of a city-state. Society is still primitive, but we are starting to see the beginnings of aspects that mimic human ones.

My question is:

How do the animals go about dealing with politics and forming a government in their newly formed city-state?

Namely, I want to figure out what to do with the following problems:

  • Herbivores outnumber the carnivores, if we use 1% of herbivores it is a much higher number than 1% of carnivores, so naturally their populations are off. Omnivores could be considered independents in this scenario, or just outliers.
  • Rats may be the smartest due to their contact with humans, but are probably the least respected of the animal species because of similar factors to why humans dislike them (carriers of disease, thieves of food, excessive breeding, etc).
  • The goal has to be maintaining society as a whole, looking at the bigger picture, and making decisions and passing laws or edicts that reflect that.
  • For the moment, the animals want to stay hidden from human interaction until they have established themselves and their society.

So, how do we reconcile the above problems within our society? I've checked out resources on early human societies and methods of government, but the problem is that the animals are not doing this on their own, but instead basing their own city-state on interpreting the human societies around them and using this as a basis to form their government. So perhaps a bit like Animal Farm, in a way, the animals attempt to mimic human society because it is their only frame of reference.

So, essentially it boils down to what is the best method of creating a government using the governments of 1760-1800 as a frame of reference? Additionally, what are the best species of animal for the job?

Bonus points for what problems might arise as a result of bad interpretations of human society that I might need to consider.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Consider reading "Animal Farm." $\endgroup$
    – user14789
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ Ultimately all culture is driven indirectly by base instincts of creatures, even when sapient, and the most basic of instincts is to reproduce. Thus I have to ask, how do these creatures reproduce? If they mate with a non-sapient species can they have sapient children? Have their base instincts been changed to match this intellect increase? Otherwise their politics would mostly be to facilitate using their intellect to help mate with as many non-sapient females as they can to father the most young. Just because their smart doesn't make then any less polygamous by instinct... $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Oct 30, 2015 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ Also, your estimations seem off, so I would want to clarify that number of animals that exist. There are currently about one rat per person according to Google, I see no reason to think it wouldn't be about the same distribution during industrial revolution, possible worse. In 1800 there were 1,000 million humans, 1% of that means 10 million sentient rats alone. You speak of animals in the dozens though, so which are we using? if your talking only the dozens then you have issues with inbreeding and there are so few odds are no sentient will meet another, their spread across the globe... $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Oct 30, 2015 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ What are the life spans of these creatures? Rats, for instance, only live for about 2 years, even at human level intellect they wouldn't know anything before they die, and longer lived elephants would thus be much smarter due to their century of learning. Is their lifespan longer? Do they instantly know things the moment sentience hits without learning? If not how do they learn enough to exploit their intellect? Have they been around long enough that school systems could exist for them? $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Oct 30, 2015 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ do knew animals randomly achieve sentience after the 'sentience event'? how long has it been since the event? (note, none of my many comments are criticism. However, I can't begin to build a culture without knowing all this. I might be able to do something interesting if I know enough about how they function biologically though. Like I said, culture is still driven my biological needs, I need their evolution to start on their culture :) $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Oct 30, 2015 at 1:20

3 Answers 3


The question is impossible. You ask "what is the best method of creating a government..." given a complicated melting pot of creatures. We don't actually know the answer to this one. Otherwise we'd have that government!

You can construct any one of a myriad of governmental constructs by acting out the process, event by event. Due to the nature of social structures, you should find that the early events markedly shape the nature of the government. I mean, consider just how much excitement there is in the US today regarding a few words penned hundreds of years ago called The Second Amendment.

One approach you can take to make the results more realistic is to treat the ideas of the time as independent individuals that engage in a symbiotic relationship with the animals. An idea which supports deer rights during hunting season will be fed by deer, and it, in return will adjust itself to match their needs (maybe the deer are friends with the Moose, so the idea may morph into support for deer and moose rights during hunting season). Any animals which develop a hunch for politics will realize that these ideas act like their own independent animals, and will realize that their career is based upon the proper care and feeding of such ideas.

A key idea would be the picture of an archtypal carnivore. The mere fact that they must eat others to survive means that image will control a great deal. If the carnivore is portrayed as an unfortunate victim of circumstance, unable to enjoy plant based foods and forced to prey on the living, it will create a markedly different environment than one where the carnivore is viewed as a subversive force, undermining the very decency of the society the animals are trying to pull together. Any politician worth their salt will see that it is essential to control the story on carnivores.


Nobody will like carnivores because no one wants to be eaten. Therefore, carnivores, learning from human politics, claim to be a marginalized minority group. Eventually, it becomes socially unacceptable to run away from a predator.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To some extent, it would be fair to actually say that carnivores are a minority group in a healthy ecosystem. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Apr 26, 2016 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. That's why they use the term "apex predator". A food chain needs to be broader at the base then at the top. They could call it the "food pyramid" but then it might get confused with the 'recommended ratio of food groups' with the same name. $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2018 at 3:58

I could see quite a few things going on. These are not mutually exclusive, either.

  1. Animals are predisposed to governments associated with them. Eagles really like the Roman republic. It's just noble, dangit. Rats follow an underground family cell structure, living in the shadows.
  2. Animals adopt the pattern of government closest to their natural society. The governments may merge if similar enough... or war The Federated City States of the rats and mice may truck with the Hare Free People to fight off the Dog Clans, Cat Democracy, and Vulpine Bedouin. The idea being that the governments more-or-less run parallel in a given region, though they do try to establish stronger claims than their rivals.
  3. Animals may be forced into subjection by their superiors. The governments may not be by type of animal, but rather whichever have the ability to dominate best. This works well if some managed to obtain a significant technological edge. The rats might figure out chemistry, say, before the others, and make weapons that equalize their combat ability to that of any predator... and they still have numbers. The shadowy nature of the conflict could be maintained as part of a cold war between different governments.
  4. Empire or federation, the various governments could literally all be "in this together". That could be due to fear of the human race or an urge to dominate. (or both)
  5. Courts and kings: you could have them adopt the government styles of the places they hail from or what tickles their (read: your) fancy. Want an Imperial Cat Court of the Sunbeam Kings? Okay.

Whatever you end up with just needs to hang together, so the power disparity between groups should have an explanation and be reflected in their relationships.

Problems that might arise? Well, first, how are they going to emphasize agrarian and mercantile traditions without thumbs? What, if anything, do they care about to trade as common? What do their farms look like?

Should these concerns not seem related to the problems with governments, realize that societies will need to address them, and the governments should serve as part of the solution... unless that was one of their misinterpretations.


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