Plato

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Plato was a philosopher in the time of the distinguished Greek philosophers. He wrote a book entitled The Republic in which he explains some of his philosophy on subjects ranging from education to government. Plato constructed a model by which he proposed all governments evolve. He called it the Five Stages of Government. He suggested that there are five forms of government, which evolve out of one another; Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Tyranny, and Aristocracy. A Timocracy is a government of the military and of honor. An Oligarchy is a government of money and of the rich. Democracy is a government of liberty by and for the people, and it coincidentally happens to be the government which we have right now. A Tyranny is a government of absolute power and dictation. And finally an Aristocracy is a government of philosopher kings. Each form of government arises out of another, and so they go about in a cycle. Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Tyranny, Aristocracy, Timocracy, etc. We can compare our government of liberty by and for the people, Democracy, to Plato's model of the five stages of government. However, we must first discuss the reasons for each of the government's evolution and how Democracy comes about. Plato submitted that all governments, no matter how good, would out of necessity progress into other forms of government. He said that this decay was due to corruption in the form of government. This corruption resulted in the demise of that form of government and out of its ashes arose the next form of government in the cycle. Plato proposed that most new governments begin as Timocracys; governments of the military and of honor. There are always exceptions to every proposal, so this was not absolute. Since a Timocracy is a government of honor, one would think that there would not be any corruption. To the contrary, the Timocratic man quests for power and has a fondness for money. These weaknesses eventually lead to the collapse of Timocracy and the creation of the next form of government, Oligarchy. The Timocratic man's fondness for money carries over into the Oligarchal state; for an Oligarchy is a government of the rich and of money. Man's fondness of money leads him to seek out profits and to strive to be better than his brothers. Soon one man has majority of power in the Oligarchy and the people cry out. This leads to the Oligarchy's ruin. T... ... middle of paper ... ...g out of the condition of war 3. To observe natural laws 4. To keep the covenants they make B. Why do we need a commonwealth? 1. Men compete for honor and glory, leading to war 2. People are selfish and look for the personal good rather than the common good 3. Men think that they're smarter than whoever is ruling them and that they can do a better job 4. Men can warp ideas of good and evil and influence others 5. Men can't let things lie--even when things are going well they complain 6. The covenant of men below a leader is artificial--they need something to tie them to their promises C. How do you erect a commonwealth? 1. Channel the opinions of many into the voice of one or a few men 2. This results in true unity rather than just consent or concord of the people D. Definition: One person, of whose acts a great multitude by mutual covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all as he shall think expedient for their peace and common defense 1. Commonwealth by institution: when the men form the commonwealth voluntarily 2. Commonwealth by acquisition: when the men are forced to enter the commonwealth

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