Plato: The Grandfather of Democracy

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Plato: The Grandfather of Democracy

The history and the evolution of what we know as law, has developed out of many different viewpoints and philosophies. It has been the result of the operational and manipulative aspects of public affairs, and also seems to be the creation of different philosophical systems. There have been many that have been innovators in this area of thought from political leaders and dictators, to others who were simple political idealists and philosophers. Through the wisdom and teachings of Plato, law has evolved into many different systems, and through this paper we will discuss the impact this particular philosopher had had on our modern system of democracy. We will also try to recognize that law will continue to evolve, as does man throughout history.

Many people believe that Plato, whose life span was 427-348 B.C., has exerted a greater influence over human thought than any other individual studied throughout history. He was a student of another tremendous contributor to human thought, Socrates. Plato had written a commentary on democracy called "The Republic." In this book he discusses the ill effects democracy has on the people, but also analyzes the inevitable need for political leaders. Plato argues that the inherent weakness of democracy exists and calls it the "extreme of popular liberty"(Plato's, The Republic). But, when we discuss Plato's views, we must take into account that his vision of democracy is much different than the modern system of democracy that we know today. Plato goes on to say…"this system is where slaves -male and female- have the same liberty as their owners," and where there is "complete equality and liberty in the relations between the sexes"(The Repub...

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...last very long. With logical reason he always resolved that even with his good intentions, man would inevitably succumb to his power. In another excerpt from his book, we see Michael Curtis finding a conclusive foundation for Plato's philosophies: "Certainly, Plato was pessimistic in his view of the inevitable, progressive deterioration of government from the starting point of timocracy until the final form of tyranny"(The Great Political Theories: Vol. I). Even though Plato sees the need for political leaders, and recognizes their invaluable function in society, he acknowledges that man indeed becomes pixilated with his power, using it in audacious measures. But, as history proves over and over again, law will continue to evolve with the future of man.


The Republic, Plato

The Great Political Theories: Volume 1: Michael Curtis
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