The Peerage is considered to be the core of Genius society, a sprawling network of Genii with the goal of making the world a better place. In truth, they are a fractious, hazy blob of people with occasionally aligned goals and ideals that mostly hangs together because they're more willing to put up with each other than Lemuria. In history, the Peerage actually was an important organization, acting as a de factor government for the Inspired, with their significance waxing and waning through history.
The Peerage, composed of the five Foundations recognized today, first came into recognizable existence during the Enlightenment of the 17th century. During this time, it had the stated goal of bettering mankind through Enlightenment ideals. This continued until the various revolutions of the 1700s. The American Revolution was cited by some as the embodiment of what the Peerage wanted, with freedom and democracy winning out over the rule of tyranny, while the rest regarded it as a terrible loss for the Peerage, as rabble-rousing illustrati rebelled against their intellectual superiors. This began a period of chaos within the Peerage, which was only worsened when the French Revolution began. While it came from the illustrati once again, many Genii were thought to have tried to manipulate the violence for their own ends. As Havoc began to get out of control, it spiralled into a Reign of Terror, causing the first of many shattering of the Peerage.
The Rise of Lemuria
In the wake of the Reign of Terror, the Peerage saw that their gifts are at least as dangerous as they are fantastic, and that the Peerage must champion restraint. Others considered this to be a hideous waste, and that if the world can't adjust to their superior will, then they must make the world adjust. This splinter group was driven from the Peerage of Europe, finding refuge in the Asian continent. They were likened to the lost continent of Lemuria, sunk to the depths, and so were called Lemurians. They coalesced an undercurrent of philosophical anthropocentrism within the Peerage into an organization now called the Oracles, with more to follow.
With this new enemy, the remaining Peerage was galvanized and reorganized themselves. They set to work to find and drive out the Lemurian threat, not realizing how many sympathizers remained in their numbers. As the Industrial Revolution approached, this conflict began to spill over into the illustrati without their knowledge.
With the Industrial Revolution, it seemed like the dreams of the Peerage had begun to finally take root, as technological progress begane at an incredible pace. Electricity, steam power, the phonogram, the cinematograph, the telegram, it seemed like a technological utopia was on the horizon, led by a boom in the membership of what was formerly the smallest Foundation, the Artificers. Then somebody pointed out that living in this time was absolute Hell. As the horrors of the new age were laid bare, the Peerage began to buckle once again, helped along by the Lemurians' push for the future at any cost. More and more Genii went Rogue, and Lemurians and Peerage were at each others' throat. Some may have even tried to go public, with rumors of this inventor or that scientist being a Genius.
The Great War
As the 19th century came to a close, the Peerage had begun to stabilize, but on the horizon was what could have been its death knell. The Great War came. While they publically condemned this war, and those who romanticized it as "the war to end all wars," many of the Peerage worked to make sure the horses they chose to back had the best shot at winning. War profiteering mixed with Wonders resulted in one of the most gruesome and costly traumas. The Progenitors in particular had begun to fester, becoming more and more unhinged in an effort to rebuild the lives they destroyed, often dipping into dangerous and immoral experiments.
The Burnt Offering
This corruption among the Progenitors was revealed in all of filthy, pustulous glory. Progenitors under the Axis Powers used the prisoners under their "care" as test subjects, unleashing upon them unfathomable tortures in order to mass-produce larvae on a scale never yet seen. The Peerage nearly tore itself apart. Lemurians and Peerage alike agreed that the Progenitors had become so corrupt, they needed to be purged. As the Progenitors were cleansed from the Peerage, a strange new order came about, as the line between Peerage and Lemuria was revealed as an illusion. Conflict between the two became both more pervasive, and less pronounced.
The Cold War
With the world locked in proxy wars and silent stand-offs, Genii were left with a veritable playground with which to manipulate the world. As the space race and the Atomic Age set in, Genii had new frontiers and new enemies. The known Bardos exploded in number, and Generators abounded. A Genius could get funding for almost any endeavor if they could justify it as a way to fight the Commies or the West, as appropriate to the audience. Lemurians and Peerage were more concerned in competing for contracts, and Genius society began to resemble corporate society as much as it did academia. This period also saw the rise of more social and psychological Wonders, bringing the Scholars to prominence in the Peerage.
The modern period leave us with a Peerage that is, nominally, still a society of like-minded Genii. While they are, in some ways, more closely connected than ever, with the rise of modern communication causing newsletters and mailing lists to give way to forums, IRC channels and Facebook groups, they are also more fractured than ever. The Peerage is more of a loose network of colleagues rather than the government that the Peerage used to be. Lemuria, similarly fractured, has begun to bleed together with the Peerage, theoretically being their enemies, but being difficult to tell apart at first glance from more extreme Peers.