Page:Aristotle - The Politics, 1905.djvu/22

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14
Analysis

monarch may be misled by his passions, and no single man can attend to all the duties of government (c. 1 6 ). One case alone can be imagined in which Absolute Kingship would be just (c. 17).

Let us consider the origin and nature of the best polity, now that we have agreed not to call Absolute Kingship the best (c. 18).


BOOK IV (VI).

cc. 1-10. Variations of the main types of Constitutions.

Political science should study (i) the ideal state, (2) those states which may be the best obtainable under special circumstances, and even (3) those which are essentially bad. For the statesman must sometimes make the best of a bad Constitution (c. i). Of our six main types of state, Kingship and Aristocracy have been discussed (cf. Bk. III, c. 14 fol.). Let us begin by dealing with the other four and their divisions, enquiring also when and why they may be desirable (c. 2).

First as to Democracy and Oligarchy. The common view that Democracy and Oligarchy should be taken as the main types of Constitution is at variance with our own view and wrong (c. 3). So is the view that the numerical propor tion of rulers to ruled makes the difference between these two types ; in a Democracy the Many are also the poor, in an Oligarchy the Few are also the wealthy. In every state the distinction between rich and poor is the most fundamental of class-divisions. Still Oligarchy and Democracy are important types ; and their variations arise from differences in the character of the rich and the poor by whom they are ruled.

Of Democracies there are four kinds. The worst, ex-