The methods of expenditure which developed in the early state can scarcely be called systematic, because the expenditures were made in a more or less haphazard fashion. The state, in its early stages of development, was subordinate to the family unit, where most of the personal needs were supplied. As the power of the state strengthened, more demands were made upon it. The first distinct public treasury in the different states was usually for religious purposes. There were no expenditures for protection, as the citizens protected the state. In foreign wars the citizens furnished their own weapons and were paid by the spoils of conquest.
1See p. 31.
Expenditures of Greece and Rome. - The most lavish of early public expenditure was found, perhaps, in Athens. Large public buildings were erected, and huge sums were spent on public works of various kinds. Expenditures for religious fetes were often wasteful and extravagant. An interesting feature of early Athenian expenditure is that comparatively large sums were spent on the poor and on war orphans.
In Rome, likewise, large sums were spent for religion, while the maintenance of the government, the erection of public buildings, and the construction of roads were items of primary importance. Provision was made for poor classes, and various kinds of public charities were established. The system of expenditures in Rome displayed more development than did that in Athens, since here many citizens who were rendering services to the state were receiving a direct payment from the state. This development had gone so far, before the fall of the Empire, that the soldiers were on the pay roll of the government.
Expenditures Under Feudalism. - Under feudalism, a study of the expenditures would be a study of the expenditures of the prince. He was the owner of the lands whence came the revenues. The public duties performed by the officials were usually few, and these were performed most often when a private benefit was entailed. Feudalism presented a system in which the public expenditure was primarily in the interest of the ruler. If his interests coincided with the interests of the public, then only did the public benefit from the expenditures of the government. As constitutionalism grew, and as the public gained a voice in the government, this situation became radically changed.