Page:Aristotle - The Politics, 1905.djvu/23

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
15
Analysis

treme Democracy, is that in which all offices are open to all, and the will of the people overrides all law (c. 4). Of Oligarchies too there are four kinds; the worst is that in which offices are hereditary and the magistrates uncontrolled by law (c. 5). These variations arise under circumstances which may be briefly described (c. 6).

Of Aristocracy in the strict sense there is but one form, that in which the best men alone are citizens (c. 7). Polity is a compromise between Democracy and Oligarchy, but inclines to the Democratic side. Many so-called Aris tocracies are really Polities (c. 8). There are different ways of effecting the compromise which makes a Polity. The Laconian Constitution is an example of a successful compromise (c. 9).

Tyranny is of three kinds: (i) the barbarian despotism, and (2) the elective dictatorship have already been discussed ; in both there is rule according to law over willing subjects. But in (3) the strict form of tyranny, there is the lawless rule of one man over unwilling subjects (c. 10).

cc. 11-13. Of the Best State both in general and under special circumstances.

For the average city-state the best constitution will be a mean between the rule of rich and poor ; the middle-class will be supreme. No state will be well administered unless the middle-class holds sway. The middle-class is stronger in large than in small states. Hence in Greece it has rarely attained to power ; especially as democracy and oligarchy were aided by the influence of the leading states (c. n). No constitution can dispense with the support of the strongest class in the state. Hence Democracy and Oligarchy are the