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By Michael C Hudson

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4 All the more impressive, therefore, is the signal accomplishment of the modern Lebanese political system: institutionalizing traditional pluralism. To appreciate why this achievement is so notable it is necessary to discuss two broad aspects of the traditional pluralism prevailing in Lebanon. One, which we shall dwell upon only briefly, is the extraordinarily pervasive influence of families and family alliances in politics; the other is the religious and sectarian fragmentation of the country.

In October 1918, for example, a local observer in Beirut reported: Obstacles to National Integration • 41 Since the proclamation, October 1st, 1918, of the Cherifian Government, the M oslem population here have entertained the hope of the constitu­ tion of an independent Mohammedan Empire. ” Further­ more, the Greek Orthodox and the Druzes, harboring their own suspicions of Catholic domination, also preferred the British or the Americans. The King-Crane investigation of summer 1919 recognized the dangers inherent in a solution that flouted nascent Arab national feeling.

Although the Maronites have been speaking Arabic since the fif­ teenth century, they retain Syriac derivations of the original Aramaic in their liturgy. From their beginnings the Maronites fell into bloody conflict with such rival sects as the Jacobites and later, in the seventh century and after, faced more formidable foes, “. . ” 20 It is said, although many Maronites now deny it, that the sect professed the Monothelite heresy (the doctrine that Christ has two Natures but one Will) between the seventh and twelfth centuries.

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