If Aristotle was opposed to democracy as an ideal form of government, what kind of government did he consider the best?


Aristotle classified states according to two variables: who holds power? And: in whose interest is it exercised? There are three politically possible answers to the first question (one, some and all:the kingship, aristocracy, and politeia), and two politically possible answers to the second (the holder of power, and everyone). Aristotle treats kingship and aristocracy as an ideal constitution run by morally and practically virtuous people and aiming at the development and exercise of virtue.

The ideal is the state in which the best, who are inevitably few in number, exercise power in the interests of all. However, since that ideal is hard to achieve, and even harder to sustain, Aristotle advocated a form of mixed government, or "politeia", in which all citizens "rule and are ruled by turn", and power is monopolized by no particular class. Aristotle was a vigorous critic of democracy.

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    Not disagreeing, but what reference do you look to for this? Politics? – James Kingsbery May 6 '14 at 17:21

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