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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

INFLUENCE OF PHYSICAL AND  SOCIAL CAUSES.      525
there in part from below, they begin also from above and
penetrate downwards more easily. Unless then it can be
shown that the most refined classes in a democracy are insen-
sible to the feeling of honor, it will follow that It ought to
have a wider spread through society there than elsewhere.
But we return to Montesquieu, who remarks that virtue is
necessary in an aristocracy, but not so necessary as in a popu-
lar government. The soul of an aristocracy is moderation
by which he intends that the nobles, as a class, keep them-
selves within due bounds, that is, keep their place within
their own order. "Such a body, however, as this, can
restrain itself only in two ways : either by a very eminent vir-
tue, which puts the nobility in some measure on a level with
the people [that is, keeps them from widening the'distance
between the common class and themselves], and may be the
means of forming a greater republic; or by an inferior virtue',
which puts them at least on a level with one another, on
which, indeed, their preservation depends." The justice of
this remark is made apparent by the histories of many small
aristocracies, in which the upper class was divided into fac-
tions, and the weaker or more popular of the two threw itself
on the common people for support.
The need of virtue in a democracy is proved by Montes-
quieu from the consideration that the same power which
makes the law in such a state executes it also ; there is no
superior will, when the people is opposed to having the law
enforced, which is able to enforce it; yet without this enforce-
ment the state is undone. In a monarchy or an aristocracy
the monarch who breaks the law himself, or the upper class,
does not lose the interest to maintain it as it respects other
members of the state. " When virtue is banished, ambition
invades the hearts of those who are disposed to receive it,
and avarice possesses the whole community. The desires now
change their objects; what they were fond of before becomes
indifferent; they were free while under the law, and they
will now be free to act against the law."
We cannot, however, suppose a whole community to be-