Aristotle And Montesquieu 's Views On Virtue

887 Words Feb 21st, 2016 4 Pages
Aristotle and Montesquieu both provide their own arguments for what virtue is and when it is needed, resulting in similar, but mostly contrasting views towards government and virtue as a whole. Montesquieu’s explanation on virtue through the different types of government makes interesting claims that Aristotle would have most certainly refuted. Virtue is first mentioned when Montesquieu introduced the principles of a democracy. In a democracy, when trying to please the majority, Montesquieu says man must be acting with virtue while dealing with the execution of laws, or there will be negative ambition driven results. He states on monarchies, “For it is clear that in a monarchy where he who commands the execution of the laws generally thinks of himself above them, there is less need of virtue.” Montesquieu’s view on virtue seems to only come into play when it is going to affect a majority population, or when the monarch is too powerful for anyones opinion to matter. Also, on his principle of aristocracies, he mentions virtue is also required for a successful state. He mentions: “the people, who in respect to the nobility are the same as the subjects with regard to a monarchy, restrained by their laws. Less occasion for virtue than the people in a democracy.” Montesquieu explains that in a democracy he sees more room for virtue since man is not tied down by laws of a dictator. He explains, in well-regulated monarchies and states, “they are almost all good subjects, and very…
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