Political structures From the Classical World
In his classical world, Aristotle identifies different types of political structures based on the Greek history. Usually, political structures are identified based on the relationship civilians have with their leaders. In the Greek history, just before the Peloponnesian War, different kinds of political structures came into existence. Leaders accumulated power and wealth as the nations they ruled increased revenues. The earlier types of political structures, the hereditary monarchs, morphed into tyrannies. The tyrannies led to tension between nations as each leader sought to accumulate more wealth and gain more influence by conquering their neighbors.
According to Aristotle, there exist six forms of political structures. These structures are identified through the kind of governance, interests of people in government and the number of people involved in governance. The six structures include three where leaders have the interests of civilians at heart and three where leaders are selfish. A monarchy is a political structure where the land is ruled by hereditary kings who have the interests of their people at hand. This was the political structure that existed in Greek states during the pre-Peloponnesian war. However, just before the war, the political structures in Greek nations at that time changed into tyrannies where leaders only focused on their interests. They accumulated wealth and mistreated their subjects.
Another political structure, the aristocracy, is composed of elite individuals who rule over a nation and keep the peoples interests safe. In some cases, this political structure changes into an oligarchy. In an oligarchy, the elite individuals become self centered and ignore people’s interests and rights.
In politic political structures, there is citizen rule and people have influence over policy formation and government operations. This political structure is rear since citizens often get conned by leaders who have selfish interests. A democratic political structure is one where leaders get voted in to represent citizens. The leaders are expected to seek their voters’ opinion before making any decision on national matters. However, mostly these leaders pursue their own selfish objectives rather than those of their people. This was the case with the Athenians who were led into war despite having a democratic structure. This cost them many lives yet the leaders still referred to the constitution that the war was a form of defending the nation.
Monarchial political structures were common during the ancient Greek times. States were kingdoms ruled by hereditary kings. These kings had power over all their subjects but always protected and cared for them. However, some kings started developing personal interests such as wanting to conquer neighboring kingdoms, developing strong armies, increasing revenues by over taxing their subjects and many other wrong doings. This resulted in tyrannies which only made the common people suffer at the hands of cruel kings.
It is common for aristocratic societies to enjoy stability and development. This is because the rulers are an elite group who understand how society should be managed economically, politically and socially. However, this political structure can easily disintegrate into an oligarch where the citizens will be used by the elite group for their own benefits. It is like a tyranny.
Polity political structures are the safest and most effective political structures because the citizens have power to control the nation. They are also guided by a constitution, meaning if the law is followed to the later, there will be no cases of law breaking or other injustices. In case this political structure disintegrates, it forms a democracy which has few devastating effects on the state.
Aristotle believed e polity structures were the best form of government. Polities are governed by constitutions and in case this structure collapses, it becomes a democracy. He argues that democracies are far less harmful than tyrannies and oligarchs.
Aristotle. (476 B.C). The Classical World. Retrieved September 2012, 14, from http//:www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/plato-republic-philosopherking.html