As kingdoms and empires grew, it became increasingly difficult for the ruler to maintain control over the more distant segments of the realm. To insure that the far-flung cities of the empire contributed their expected share to the coffers, local magistrates and courts were established. In the Courthouse the ruler's representatives listened to the grievances of the people and meted out justice. Here the laws that governed social interaction were defined and enforced. The Courthouse reduced crime, and thereby kept the local population productive and content. Unhappy and unproductive citizens were not willing taxpayers.