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Author Topic: The High Council  (Read 6742 times)
qoSagh
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« on: 06 21, 2004, 07:21: PM »

This has been a theory of mine for some time, but I was recently re-reading some of the older posts here and thought it was about time to flesh this out.

The High Council, what exactly is it, how are it's members chosen? IS it called the High Council because there are other lesser councils at the regional and local levels? Does the Chancellor have to come from within the council, or is that posision independant of the Council, so as to achieve a ballance of power? Did the Chancellor assume all powers given to the Emperor or only some? If there are lesser councils, need they follow the same rules about membership and/or leadership?

I think the High Council is likely to be restricted to a fixed number of members. IF there is any way to adhust this number I think it would rest in the hands of the Chancellor. As to how the members are selected I think it is the (fixed number) most powerful houses each send a delegate. This delegate would most likely be the leader of the house. I think that these Concilors probably serve to confirm the choice for Chancellor but not to choose directly. There are rites and procedures for this, which include direct combat challenges. The Chancellor does not have to come from within, Martok held no Council seat, but there are probably rules governing who can challenge the Chancellor. Martok was a General, Worf was a well known figure. There is probably some sort of status guideline in place.

I think there are lesser councils and that they do not all follow the same rules. I think that there are vastly different forms of government in various regions of the empire, but that councils were forced on the regions by the empire as a way of modernization and providing oversight. I'm not sure that all the councils have the same level of authority except on paper. We know that different regions were governed by different customs such as who is next in line for the throne. Pawns and Symbols featured a line via the Emperors sister to her son. But was this really the Emperor or a regional position? If this was the ruler of the entire empire he would have been one of the last as this was during Kirk's captaincy and so was Gorkon. That's why I am thinking that he was likely some sort of regional Emperor (if there is such a thing). PErhaps this regional official presides over his local council by birthright, while some by election or acclimation.

Enough of this for today. Someone please reply, it's been getting quiet around here.
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« Reply #1 on: 06 25, 2004, 01:11: AM »

I too have wondered about this. Here is a reply, though it is woefully incomplete and may not answer any of your questions...

I never saw enough of DS9 to fully follow the Klingon story arcs, and bothered even less with TNG.  From what I have seen, the function and operations of the High Council were never defined. Either that or they were very fluid; "the rules" seem to vary a lot from one episode to the next with no reasons given as to the change. I believe this to be part of the generally abysmal continuity within the franchise. The High Council is the backbone of the post-Revision Imperial government, and as such should be a fairly rigid structure in order to support it.  

But wars of internal dissention between Houses and other economic interests are common, and as such dynasties of any sort tend to be short-lived. Thus internal practices of governance would vary over time. This could, if stretched, account for the differences between the Emperor-based system of the TOS era and the Chancellorship of Gorkon and his successors. But I believe that to explain the apparent differences from one episode to the next would stretch this rationale to the breaking point.

I don't see the position of Emperor in PAS to be a regional one. I see it as encompasing the entire empire. Both Tahrn and Peneli were wealthy worlds near the center of the empire; it makes sense that either of these could be the Imperial seat. Klinzhai/Qo'noS may be the Homeworld and administrative capital, but I would think an Emperor would maintain an official residence in the line's ancestral home (presuming one exists.)

Over the years I have encountered Emperors, Empresses, Chancellors, a Princess, the Imperial Council, the High Council, and an Oligarchy. (Regardless of what it is called, I think that the word "oligarchy" best describes the function of the ruling body.) Grrrrr... Sometimes I think that trying to reconcile anything from one episode to the next, let alone in anything in print with anything on screen, is a fool's errand.

As to the High Council being restricted to a fixed number of members, I think it would have to be, and to a small number at that. In theory an Emperor's power may be absolute but in reality there is a delicate balancing act between the Council and the Throne. If the Council were to become too large, the scales would be tipped in the favor of the Council and the Crown would decorate a mere figurehead.  The office of Chancellor appears to be of a slightly more democratic nature; as such a Chancellor can afford to have a wider circle of official advisors in the form of a larger Council.

The system of lesser councils would work better in theory than in practice; the empire consists of many conquered worlds and peoples, and some will assimilate into the prevailing Imperial heirarchy better than others. For those peoples with vastly differing ways, it would be much easier to gain and retain control by installing a puppet government that takes a form similar to that which existed before instead of trying to impose a new one from scratch. It does follow that the "puppetmasters" of a given region of space would comprise lesser councils who in turn reported to the High Council.

Do you see the High Council as a cabinet of sorts, with each member representing or responsible for a given aspect of Imperial rule, or simply a collection of whichever Houses or other interests who have managed to elbow others aside, and claim a seat to further their own interests?

-=- Kesvirit
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« Reply #2 on: 06 25, 2004, 07:26: PM »

mayve the rules have changed as a matter of fact so that might be something that could or could not have influenced the whole thing.
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weslipuqlod
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« Reply #3 on: 06 27, 2004, 05:41: PM »

What follows is selected portions from a body of work being created for the boqnIbqul website:

During early times Klingons were a fractured world of warrior-peasants with little of the hierarchical class structure so evident today.  But increased power and responsibility required a different kind of leadership.  The warrior caste grew in influence at the encouragement of qeylIS, while he stressed through his laws the supreme authority and powers of the newly formed council in all legal matters.  Control of everyday affairs passed increasingly into the hands of the High Council. Although the top of the Klingon social structure was the Emperor, imperial direction was the responsibility of the High Council.  Never again would only one man rule the Klingon people.    The Council was created to decide nearly all disputes, public and private.  They pass judgment and decide rewards and penalties in criminal cases and in disputes concerning legacies and boundaries.
 
qeylIS commissioned the construction of the Great Hall. The Great Hall was not to be just a building for the Emperor or High Council to work in, but a focus for imperial loyalty and the embodiment of the hopes and aspirations of the Klingon people.  The Klingon people as a whole developed a new confidence, a feeling of superiority.  Klingons learned that aggression pays, and that discovery changed the entire basis of our society.  

qeylIS divided his new empire into regions which he subdivided into provinces, these where then divided further into tributaries to meet agricultural and military needs.  By the end of his reign, qeylIS consolidated these tributaries into districts.  The majority of these districts grew into major cities ruled by a military chief appointed by the governor of the province.

In the beginning, council members were elected delegates from the strongest houses.  Today, most councilors are nominated from within the council when a seat is open.  The council makes policy decisions but sometimes in practice it bows to the wishes of the Emperor or Chancellor.  The High Council is made up of high officials that include senior generals, heads of various branches of civil government, such as governors of provincial cities and districts.  These Klingons are considered lords by virtue of the offices they hold and not through birth or inheritance.  A councilor pays no taxes and is given an official residence, drawing income from the lands pertaining to his office, rather than his person. When a leader dies, the highest in honor succeeds, or if some are on equal footing, they contend for leadership.  A councilor can not be sure that his son will take over the office and all the benefits that accompany it.  The private family estates of a house will indeed pass from father to son, but public estates remain tied to office of the council seat held, which revert back to the High Council when the holder of the seat dies.  If there is a suitably qualified male relative within the house, then the position may go to him, but the final decision rests with the High Council, who can appoint anyone thought fit in accordance with the ja’chuQ.  

The High Council meets every 90 days or as exigent circumstances dictate. Lesser crimes are dealt with by minor councils, usually a council of elders overseen by military chiefs or experienced warriors.  Their jurisdiction is limited to minor offenses.  In more serious offenses this local court will carry out a preliminary examination before handing the case over to the governor.  In more complicated cases, and all those involving councilors and governors, the matter is presented directly to the High Council.  

The Klingon Empire regulates every aspect of life through law. Fixing of prices, wages, issuing trading licenses, travel permits, and so on.  The Empire regulates trade rigorously, controlling the economy closely.  It assumes responsibility for the building and control of factories and workshops, establishes monopolies, handles imports and exports, fixes wages, the purchase and selling price of all goods, customs dues, and other similar charges.  The Empire also acts as overseer of private firms, verifying the quality of the wares which are produced or handled, and the price at which they are to be sold.  The Empire is responsible for provisioning all cities, ensuring that imports do not exceed the estimated needs of inhabitants, while avoiding rationing.
« Last Edit: 06 27, 2004, 05:42: PM by weslipuqlod » Logged
qoSagh
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« Reply #4 on: 06 29, 2004, 06:11: PM »

Very good work on the Council history. I would think that while nominations must come from a council member, there would have to be a rule in place to keep a single house from gaining a majority of seats. I think that there might also be a rule about to many seats from a given region, but I think that might be a bit more flexible. After all if no one man shall rule the empire, then having to many councilors from a given house would put that epetai in the position of being that one man in practice if not in title.
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qoSagh qlIStIy
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« Reply #5 on: 06 01, 2005, 06:34: PM »

qosagh,

As Usual your Comments are Nicely Stated, maj...(Good)...

weslipuqlod,

I Like this History of the Council a lot, Good Work!



Our Club Assumes that the Council Has a Mission (Ideally), of Balancing the the Power of a Single Ruler, AND is representative of the Interests of Different Regions... We Use this as a Model (At least to Some Degree), for the Clubs own Political Power Bases. There are Three Arms/Blades to this Governing Branch:

1- The Fleet Admiral, this is the Commander of the Legion, and Overall the Clubs Cheif Executive Officer... His (I Say His only because to Date No Females have Run for the Office), Power Is Fairly Great in terms of Moderating the Clubs Larger Direction... The Position is Elected.

2- The Fleet Staff, There are Two Elected Positions, (Vice Legion Command, and Legion Opperations), these are Directly Responsible For Running/Overseeing the Clubs Day to Day Business. In Addition there are Several Appointed Positions Including, An Ambassador, Communications, Marine Force Leader, Security, And The Recent Addition of a Spiritual Advisor to the Legion... These "Appointed" Positions are Primarily Role-play in Nature and represent Not so Much a Governing Body, as a Cabinet of Advisors for the Legion Commander.

3- The Council of Lords, This is Where the Majority of the Power Really Exists... It is Made up of The Chapter Presidents of the Club. Each has but a Single "Vote" on Issues Brought before the Council, Regardless of the Size of the Chapter. The C.O.L. is Responsible for Hearing out the Ideas and or Grievences of Individual Chapters and may Redress Decisions Made By Fleet Staff. Any Changes to Procedure or Policy of the Club Must be First Approved by the Council.

Now I Recognize that this is a "Real World" Political Structure, within Klindom, But it Is Logical that Something Similar Would Exist on the Larger Scale of the Empire... In Which Case Our Legion Commander Would Be Responsible for Reporting to an NPC Imperial Staff Member, Who Would Likely Have to Bring important Matters Before the Council, much as our own Staff Officers Would Have to Bring Issues Before the C.O.L.

We Have Intentionally Created a Large Gulf of Seperation Between our "Little" Unit Within the Empire, (Read Club), and the Larger Policy Making of the Empire... (In an Attempt to Discourage Meta-gaming the Politics of the Empire itself), BUT Also Make certain Assumptions that what we do in terms of The Day to Day Running of the Legion is Left In Large Part to Those in Command of the Legion... In Other Words we as a Club Assume A Certain amount of Autonomy, While Still Ultimately being Loyal to the Council and the Chancellor as Good Klingon Citizens of the Empire...

Perhaps this has Drifted off Topic a little bit, but it is Relevent in the Sense that Without a Clear Example of How the Klingon Political System would Really work, we have taken the Stance that The Council is Something of a Group of Advisors to the Chancellor. Advisors who likely have their own Agendas and Intrigues that are Somewhat Esoteric or Mysterious Compared to the Daily Toils of the Average Klingon, Military or Otherwise...

 
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