Tom Paine asks how it is that established governments came into being, his answer, is "banditti of ruffians" seized control and turned themselves into monarchs (1792)

Thomas Paine

In Part II of his Rights of Man Tom Paine asks how it is that established governments came into being. In the second chapter "Of the Origins of the Present Old Governments" he has his answer, "banditti of ruffians" seized control and turned themselves into monarchs:

It is impossible that such governments as have hitherto existed in the world, could have commenced by any other means than a total violation of every principle sacred and moral. The obscurity in which the origin of all the present old governments is buried, implies the iniquity and disgrace with which they began. The origin of the present government of America and France will ever be remembered, because it is honourable to record it; but with respect to the rest. even Flattery has consigned them to the tomb of time, without an inscription. It could have been no difficult thing in the early and solitary ages of the world, while the chief employment of men was that of attending flocks and herds, for a banditti of ruffians to overrun a country, and lay it under contributions. Their power being thus established, the chief of the band contrived to lose the name of Robber in that of Monarch; and hence the origin of Monarchy and Kings.

In a much blunter version than David Hume, thus befitting a popular pamphlet rather than a scholarly essay, Thomas Paine asks the same question: where do governments come from originally? Hume thought is was “implicit submission” to the dominant ruling elite. Paine expressed himself more directly but along the same lines - it was the rise to power of local dominant “banditti of ruffians” who over time became the polished and effete ruling classes of old regime Europe. It is the ancestors of these down to which we “bend the knee.”