Thucydides ' Personal Remarks, Political Speeches

1814 Words Dec 17th, 2015 8 Pages
In this paper, I will argue that Thucydides believed that due to the flawed nature of humans, democracy, along with other forms of popular government, was also flawed and only successful under the guidance of a strong, monarch-like figure. By analyzing Thucydides’ personal remarks, political speeches, and the structure throughout History of the Peloponnesian War, this essay will accomplish three objectives. First, it will show how Thucydides’ statements show his belief that human nature was flawed, and that humans are motivated primarily through greed, self-interest, and a desire for power. Secondly, by evaluating the speeches recounted throughout the work, it will demonstrate Thucydides’ opinion on the intrinsic faults with the Athenian democracy that stem from human nature. Finally, by examining Thucydides statements on tyranny, oligarchy, Sparta, and Pericles, it will show how Thucydides believed that the best form of government was a mixed government of democracy and monarchy that prevented deterioration into an anarchy or tyranny respectively.
Before even beginning his history, Thucydides hints at his pessimistic views on human nature. In the introduction, he states, “[…] (human nature being what it is) will, at some time or other and in much the same ways, be repeated in the future.” (Thucydides 1. 22). This passage is not revealing when read alone, for he doesn’t specifically describe human nature. However, when regarded in context with his other descriptions…
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