Aristotle Forms Of Government

Submitted By BarryBautista1
Words: 973
Pages: 4

In Aristotle’s Politics, he provides us with an explanation of the types of governments, or rather “constitutions” that are available in society. He tells us that the sovereign is the ruling body and that “the sovereign must necessarily be either One, or Few, or Many” (p.195 paragraph 3). And from each of three, there exists two types of constitutions that are considered either good constitutions or bad constitutions. The good constitutions are what are called monarchy, aristocracy, and polity – they are categorized by sovereign’s goal for the common-interest. In comparison to the good constitutions, the bad constitutions – tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy – are goal-oriented towards the benefit of the ruling party’s self-interest. Aristotle considers the existence of factions (the wealthy, the poor, and the middle class) within society and that factional conflict is a problem that arises within the various forms of government. In this essay, I shall discuss the forms of government that Aristotle lists, their associations with factions, and how they lead Aristotle to conclude that polity is the best form of government. Factions are various types of social classes who have their own goals for their own unique qualities. The first type of faction that exists is the poor and the second type of faction is called the wealthy. These two factions are readily willing to fight each other because “one side claim an equal share in everything, on the ground of their equality, while those on the other press for a greater share, on the ground that they are unequal” (p.207 paragraph 2). The poor and the wealthy class are most notably known to engage in factional conflict, because the current constitution does not allow one side to practice the “conception of justice it happens to entertain” (p. 207 paragraph 2). This provides instability for the current constitutions because at the end of the conflict the winner will end up creating a constitutional change in favor of itself. Within the three types of bad constitution – tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy – factional conflict is most likely to occur. The reason being is that there are large disparities between the factions of the poor and the wealthy. In a tyranny, there is only one person who is the sovereign and rules out of his own self-interest. This type of constitution is very unstable because it leads to those ruled and oppressed to rebel and change the constitution. An oligarchy is a constitution in which the “rich, being so few in number, hold the public offices” (p.196 paragraph 4). And the opposite constitution of oligarchy is democracy, the rule of the many poor. Factional conflict will always be a problem with constitutions like oligarchies and democracies because “unequals are treated in proportion to the inequality existing between them” (p.208 paragraph 2).
Aristotle introduces the middle class as the group of people that are most desirable in a constitution. They are beneficial to society because they are “the most ready to listen to reason” (paragraph 205). The middle class’s moderate qualities stop them from wanting any of the property of the wealthy or to act wickedly in order to protect their property. The middle class is in a state of satisfaction and do not have clouded judgment.
In consideration of the middle class, Aristotle states that a constitution that is ruled by the many is best fit to reap the benefits of a large middle class. A polity – the type of government that is ruled by the many and seeks to benefit common-interest – is what Aristotle believes to be the best form of government because it structured to benefit from a large middle class. A polity “has a larger share [of