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8. These are nearly all the topics from which arguments
may be drawn in persuading and dissuading; but the most important and effective of all the means of persuasion and good counsel is to know all the forms of government and to distinguish the manners and customs, institutions, and interests of each; [2] for all men are guided by considerations of expediency, and that which preserves the State is expedient. Further, the declaration of the authority is authoritative,1 and the different kinds of authority are distinguished according to forms of government; in fact, there are as many authorities as there are forms of government.

[3] Now, there are four kinds of government, democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, monarchy, so that the supreme and deciding authority is always a part or the whole of these. [4] Democracy is a form of government in which the offices are distributed by the people among themselves by lot; in an oligarchy, by those who possess a certain property-qualification; in an aristocracy, by those who possess an educational qualification, meaning an education that is laid down by the law. In fact, in an aristocracy, power and office are in the hands of those who have remained faithful to what the law prescribes, and who must of necessity appear best, whence this form of government has taken its name. In a monarchy, as its name indicates, one man alone is supreme over all;
if it is subject to certain regulations, it is called a kingdom; if it is unlimited, a tyranny.

[5] Nor should the end of each form of government be neglected, for men choose the things which have reference to the end. Now, the end of democracy is liberty, of oligarchy wealth, of aristocracy things relating to education and what the law prescribes, . . . ,2 of tyranny self-protection. It is clear then that we must distinguish the manners and customs, institutions, and interests of each form of government, since it is in reference to this that men make their choice. [6] But as proofs are established not only by demonstrative, but also by ethical argument—since we have confidence in an orator who exhibits certain qualities, such as goodness, goodwill, or both—it follows that we ought to be acquainted with the characters of each form of government; for, in reference to each, the character most likely to persuade must be that which is characteristic of it. These characters will be understood by the same means; for characters reveal themselves in accordance with moral purpose, and moral purpose has reference to the end.

[7] We have now stated what things, whether future or present, should be the aim of those who recommend a certain course; from what topics they should derive their proofs of expediency; further, the ways and means of being well equipped for dealing with the characters and institutions
of each form of government, so far as was within the scope of the present occasion; for the subject has been discussed in detail in the Politics.3

1 The pronouncements of the supreme authority are themselves authoritative as laying down laws and regulations for the citizens.

2 The “end” of monarchy is wanting here.

3 Aristot. Pol. 3.7.

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