Throughout the history of man, there have been a few significant forms of political leadership. From the earliest stages of man, a simple rule stood for thousands and thousands of years. That rule was simply survival of the fittest.. As time passed and man evolved, the idea of living in a tribe with other people and specialization of tasks took hold. From this came the idea of political leadership of a community.
The earliest communities were certainly ruled by the strongest member of the tribe. If someone wanted to challenge the tribal leader, it was most certainly a physical, rather than a mental challenger. The motto of survival of the fittest also meant that the fittest would be the leader of the tribe. It was probably very rare that a member of the tribe that wasnt the strongest to be the leader.
Succession of leadership would generally take the form of a male-side dynasty. The eldest son of the leader would generally assume control from his father at some point, but would also be susceptible to challenges from other members of the tribe. This method of challenging the leadership dynasty is not a part of empires as early as the Egyptians.
Continuing with the evolution of man, as the communities grew larger and larger the need for political interaction with other communities became more and more important. Without the proper political leadership, the tribes would be in a constant state of war. If the tribe was substantially stronger than all other tribes, there would be no need for politics, but the smaller tribes benefited greatly from politics.
As tribes and communities grew still larger, empires were formed. The earliest empires had a central leader, who, presumably at one time were the strongest and most fit of the community, and delegated the political ventures of the tribe. For the most part, if a ruler had been the second or third of the same family, he generally took care of all foreign and domestic relations the group had. Being the second or third generation afford the opportunity for education of the leadership role. This education allowed for better political strategies and maneuvers.
One of the earliest political actions between two empires would be the treaty between the Assyrians and the Egyptians. When Ramses II deciding to attempt the expand his empire further west, he ran into the Assyrians. While a large battle took place the end result was a treaty that basically divided the then know world into areas for Egyptian and Assyrian rule.
While the leadership of the early Greeks was controlled by a central leader, they Greeks were among the first to experiment with the idea of having small communities within the empire to have a say in the official laws and regulations of the Greek state. This quasi democracy is the basis of our current government and political operations today.
This branching out of governance allowed for several improvements to the basic standard of living. No longer did the strong make rules that kept the weak permanently oppressed. With the exception of slaves, everyone know had a much more level of a playing field when it came to the governmental issues.
The Romans copied this format of governance with a few changes. The emperor had supreme power, but there was a senate of elected officials. This senate was not made of common men, but of the aristocracy of the day. Only the highly privileged had a chance to voice his or her opinion in the senate, thus moving further from the democratic system.
As the Roman Empire crumbled, the return of rule by the strong returned. Tribal warfare and a lack of meaningful gain in the standard of living persisted for hundreds of years. Empires were sacked ruthless gangs of vandals destroyed all essence of order and civility. In time people found that there still was a need for political relationships and the next generation of governance took over.
The feudal system involved the idea of a small community leader, usually the richest and the one with the most land, who provided the people of the community protection in return for their service. The Feudal system then saw a mass of agreements between area leader to ensure that if one were attacked the other would help defend. A mass of complicated treaties bogged down this system and eventually failed to produce a lasting positive effect of the history of man.