A Questionnaire on the American Samoan Society

960 Words Jan 30th, 2018 4 Pages
On the political level in the United States, most leaders are elected directly or appointed to office by politicians, although they often come from very wealthy and privileged backgrounds and have their political careers financed by various special interests. Of course, much of the real leadership in the country is based on wealth and income, or control of large corporations, bureaucracies and financial institutions. Samoa has a matai or chief system that traditionally controlled the social, political and economic order. Those in the lower castes were expected to show respect and deference to their elders and hereditary rulers, rather than the more modern (post-French Revolution) concept of equal citizenship for all. Chiefs controlled all exchanges and the distribution of wealth and land, which is also quite different from the capitalistic individualism that lies at the core of modern American culture, and naturally the U.S. colonizers attempted to undermine this traditional system.

How did the traditional system of chiefly power reinforce the close knit social system of village life?
This traditional society in Samoa and other Polynesian islands was based on the clan and the extended family, each of which had elders, chiefs and patriarchs. It was a collectivist and hierarchical society, not at all a democracy, in which the hereditary elites were the governing…