The Constitution Of Government And Selections From Aristotle 's Politics

1009 WordsApr 13, 20155 Pages
“The science of politics, however, like most other sciences, has received great improvement. The efficacy of various principles is now well understood, which were either not known at all, or imperfectly known to the ancients,” wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist Paper number 9. In The Federalist Papers, which Thomas Jefferson described as “the best commentary on the principles of government, which was ever written,” writers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay sought to articulate and defend the integrity of the new Constitution, and to demonstrate the ways in which it fulfilled the requirements necessary to establish a Republican form of government. However, as seen in the opening quote, the new Constitution, while drawing…show more content…
First to be explored is Aristotle’s Politics. It this work, Aristotle portrays man as an inherently political animal, with logos and the ability to distinguish injustice from justice. He purports that the purpose of humanity within nature is to live together and seek justice. Since human beings live as political animals, the polis arises naturally. The purpose of the polis is not merely to help humans live, but to help them live well, as morally sound, well educated citizens (Nederman 287). Speaking of the democratic state specifically, he says, “the basis of a democratic state is liberty...one principle of liberty is for all to rule and be ruled in turn….another is that a man should live as he likes” (Book 6.2). In other words, “freedom based upon equality” (Book 6.2). This, alongside his the purpose of the polis itself (to educate and assist citizens in living well and seeking justice) forms the foundation of the promise of democracy within the selections from Aristotle’s Politics. However, what threatens the institutions of democracy according to Aristotle? First, he finds weakness in democracy’s definition of justice: “that to which the majority agree” (Book 6.2). In contrasting it with the oligarch’s definite (“that to which the wealthier class”), he states there is some inequality and injustice within each. Each places the democracy in danger of tyranny, whether
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