The aspect of democracy in the ancient Greek has been a centre of attraction for most of the political scientists in the present day with the main focus being on the theory and practice of government systems based on democracy. Studying Aristotle perspective regarding democracy in politics is usually complex . This is because Aristotle’s remarks concerning the area under discussion are disseminated extensively throughout his entire work. Additionally, the complexity of the subject is amplified by the discursive nature of his viewpoints regarding politics. The goal of this paper is provide a summary and evaluation of the Aristotle’s politics concerning democracy.
Aristotle differentiates the good and bad systems of ruling, whether it entails ruling by one, which he refers to as monarchy, ruling by few, which he refers to as aristocracy and rule by many, which he refers to as democracy. According to Aristotle, democracy does not stand out as the best form of ruling . This is also true for the case aristocracy and monarchy. The rule under democracy is normally for and by the people in accordance to the named government. In the context of democracy, the rule is by and for the people in need. This is contrast in the case of aristocracy, which entails a rule of law that denotes the power of the best, and the case of monarchy, whereby the rule hold the country’s priorities at heart; which are considered better forms of government. Aristotle argues that government should be established by people who have enough time in order to pursue virtue; this is because the same principles regarding virtues are a characteristic of cities and constitution, and that the constitution is a major component of city life.
Aristotle’s viewpoint concerning politics is founded on the city-state aspect of the Greek. As a result, Aristotle assumes that the any state will have the same basic characteristics of the Greek city states, whereby there were male citizens in charge of the administration of the state, and women, slaves, foreigners and other laborers who are supposed to undertake the required basic tasks in order to keep the city operational . In the Greek context, citizenship was focused more in responsibility compared to the present day representative democracies. This meant that all the citizens in the context of Greek city states are to be involved in the government functions and hold various positions in public offices. This is one of the significant reasons why Aristotle perceives public office as major characteristic of citizenship. This is mainly attributed to the fact that citizenship entails an active participation in the running of the state, as a result, a citizen is more likely to identify himself with his/her city state; and this is what constitutes to an ideal state. Basing on this, it is arguably evident that there are different forms of democracy and oligarchy; it is difficult to determine which form of ruling comes first to the other or determining the order of excellence . Therefore, oligarchy and democracy are better relative to the given conditions. However, the less attractive concerning Aristotle politics is the aspect that rulers have to be leisured and propertied so that they can have adequate time to pursue virtue rather than being laborers that are too busy to pursue virtue .
In comparison with the American government, it takes on all the three-fold approaches of Aristotle politics, whereby monarchy is represented by presidency, aristocracy is represented by The Senate and democracy is denoted by the House of Representatives. It is arguably evident that the functioning of the American government is in contrast to the beliefs of Aristotle.
It is arguably evident that the best system of government takes into consideration the best way of life for an individual, which is determined by the same principles of virtues. As a result, the best system of governance, according to Aristotle is one which offers the rulers ample time to pursue virtues.
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