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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsA Treatise On Government - BOOK VII - Chapter IX
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A Treatise On Government - BOOK VII - Chapter IX Post by :expat Category :Nonfictions Author :Aristotle Date :January 2011 Read :3385

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A Treatise On Government - BOOK VII - Chapter IX

Having determined thus far, it remains that we consider whether all
these different employments shall be open to all; for it is possible
to continue the same persons always husbandmen, artificers, judges, or
counsellors; or shall we appoint different persons to each of those
employments which we have already mentioned; or shall some of them be
appropriated to particulars, and others of course common to all? but
this does not take place in every state, for, as we have already said,
it is possible that all may be common to all, or not, but only common
to some; and this is the difference between one government and
another: for in democracies the whole community partakes of
everything, but in oligarchies it is different.

Since we are inquiring what is the best government possible, and it is
admitted to be that in which the citizens are happy; and that, as we
have already said, it is impossible to obtain happiness without
virtue; it follows, that in the best-governed states, where the
citizens are really men of intrinsic and not relative goodness, none
of them should be permitted to exercise any mechanic employment or
follow merchandise, as being ignoble and destructive to virtue;
neither should they be husband-(1329a) men, that they may be at
leisure to improve in virtue and perform the duty they owe to the
state. With respect to the employments of a soldier, a senator, and a
judge, which are evidently necessary to the community, shall they be
allotted to different persons, or shall the same person execute both?
This question, too, is easily answered: for in some cases the same
persons may execute them, in others they should be different, where
the different employments require different abilities, as when courage
is wanting for one, judgment for the other, there they should be
allotted to different persons; but when it is evident, that it is
impossible to oblige those who have arms in their hands, and can
insist on their own terms, to be always under command; there these
different employments should be trusted to one person; for those who
have arms in their hands have it in their option whether they will or
will not assume the supreme power: to these two (namely, those who
have courage and judgment) the government must be entrusted; but not
in the same manner, but as nature directs; what requires courage to
the young, what requires judgment to the old; for with the young is
courage, with the old is wisdom: thus each will be allotted the part
they are fit for according to their different merits. It is also
necessary that the landed property should belong to these men; for it
is necessary that the citizens should be rich, and these are the men
proper for citizens; for no mechanic ought to be admitted to the
rights of a citizen, nor any other sort of people whose employment is
not entirely noble, honourable, and virtuous; this is evident from the
principle we at first set out with; for to be happy it is necessary to
be virtuous; and no one should say that a city is happy while he
considers only one part of its citizens, but for that purpose he ought
to examine into all of them. It is evident, therefore, that the landed
property should belong to these, though it may be necessary for them
to have husbandmen, either slaves, barbarians, or servants. There
remains of the different classes of the people whom we have
enumerated, the priests, for these evidently compose a rank by
themselves; for neither are they to be reckoned amongst the husbandmen
nor the mechanics; for reverence to the gods is highly becoming every
state: and since the citizens have been divided into orders, the
military and the council, and it is proper to offer due worship to the
gods, and since it is necessary that those who are employed in their
service should have nothing else to do, let the business of the
priesthood be allotted to those who are in years. We have now shown
what is necessary to the existence of a city, and of what parts it
consists, and that husbandmen, mechanic, and mercenary servants are
necessary to a city; but that the parts of it are soldiers and
sailors, and that these are always different from those, but from each
other only occasionally.

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eems neither now nor very lately to have been known (1329b) tothose philosophers who have made politics their study, that a cityought to be divided by families into different orders of men; and thatthe husbandmen and soldiers should be kept separate from each other;which custom is even to this day preserved in Egypt and in Crete; alsoSesostris having founded it in Egypt, Minos in Crete. Common mealsseem also to have been an ancient regulation, and to have beenestablished in Crete during the reign of Minos, and in a still moreremote period in Italy; for those who are the best judges in
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n natural bodies those things are not admitted to be parts of themwithout which the whole would not exist, so also it is evident that ina political state everything that is necessary thereunto is not to beconsidered as a part of it, nor any other community from whence onewhole is made; for one thing ought to be common and the same to thecommunity, whether they partake of it equally or unequally, as, forinstance, food, land, or the like; but when one thing is for thebenefit of one person, and another for the benefit of another, in thisthere is nothing like a
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