Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

a coalition of the upper class against mischievous demagogues.
In Rhodes the demagogues procured that the revenues should
be distributed as pay to the people (?), and stopped paying
the trierarchs what was due to them [for advances to the
state on account of their galleys]. To escape oppressive
suits the trierarchs conspired and overthrew the popular gov-
ernment. In Heraclcia [Pontica], soon after the settlement
there, the democracy was abolished, owing to the violence of
the demagogues who banished the notables ; and they, col-
lecting together, returned to put down the popular govern-
ment. The same happened at Megara, whence this colony
at Heracleia went forth, owing to the banishment of wealthy
citizens and confiscation of their property by the demagogues.
The oppressed wealthy class succeeded in establishing an
oligarchy. In almost all similar revolutions in democracies
the course of events is much the same. Sometimes the
demagogues, to please the people, force the upper class into
conspiracy, by oppressing them ; then either they divide up
their estates or consume their revenues in public services, or
they bring charges against them in order to confiscate their
property. In the old times, when the same man was dema-
gogue and general, the polities assumed the tyrannical form,
almost all the ancient tyrants having been demagogues at
first. The reason .why this happened then, but does not hap-
pen now, says Aristotle, is that then skill in war brought
the demagogue forward ; now it is skill in oratory that does
this. These popular leaders of to-day, on account of their
ignorance of military affairs, seldom use violence to secure
their ends. Formerly, also, tyrannies arose more than now
from the greatness of the power entrusted to a single person;
or from the fact that the cities were small and the citizens to
a great extent lived on their lands, which afforded facilities to
the popular leaders, where they had skill in military affairs,
to get control over a population busy in their own affairs out-
side of the walls. Again, there are changes from a democra-
cy handed down from ancestors into one of a new-fangled
kind. "For where the public officers are chosen without