Democracy Outlined by Plato and Aristotle Essay

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In the fifth-century BC, Athens emerged as one of the most advanced state or polis in all of Greece. This formation of Athenian ‘democracy’ holds the main principle that citizens should enjoy political equality in order to be free to rule and be ruled in turn. The word ‘democracy’ originates from the Greek words demos (meaning people) and kratos (meaning power) therefore demokratia means “the power of the people.” The famous funeral speech of Pericles states that “Our constitution is called democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people.” However, only citizens (free adult men of Athenian descent) could participate in political matters. Women and slaves held no political rights, although they were…show more content…
In short, it outlines the problem that there can be no correct leadership in a democracy. The leader elected by the people must act accordingly to secure and maintain his position, as a result the leader cannot act in the best interest of the society, only in the interests of the ‘mob.’ Secondly, Plato argues that within a democracy there will always be factions or a group of people that believe they are right, these factions gain power and support through their wealth and property. This problem creates conflicts and a breakdown of society which Plato believes could lead to civil war. Thirdly, Plato suggests that a proper society maintains itself by stability and authority. Stability is maintained by looking towards the future rather than short term, when authority is lost the people lose sight of what is best for them, thus losing stability. Finally, considering points two and three Plato argues that with a breakdown of authority and stability combined with factions, this would result in violence creating the inevitability of civil war. As a consequence, tyranny is formed to end violence in the interest of the many for the power of the one. These four problems present the inevitability that democracy is destined for ruin.

Plato in the Republic writes about a new form of society which would be based upon the good of everyone, whereby those who are most able should rule. Plato states that "Unless, said I,
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