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[1266a] [1] In Plato's Laws on the other hand it is stated that the best constitution must consist of a combination of democracy and tyranny,1 which one might refuse to count as constitutional governments at all, or else rank as the worst of all constitutions. A better theory therefore is put forward by those who intermingle a larger number of forms, for the constitution composed of a combination of a larger number of forms is better. In the next place, the constitution in the Laws proves as a matter of fact not to contain any element of monarchy at all, but its factors are taken from oligarchy and democracy, and for the most part it tends to incline towards oligarchy. This appears from the regulations for the appointment of the magistrates; for their selection by lot from a list previously elected by vote is a feature common to both oligarchy and democracy, but the compulsion put upon the richer citizens to attend the assembly and vote for magistrates or perform any other political function, while the others are allowed to do as they like, is oligarchical, as is the endeavor to secure that a majority of the magistrates shall be drawn from the wealthy and that the highest offices shall be filled from the highest of the classes assessed by wealth. But the writer also makes the election of the council oligarchical for everybody is compelled to elect, but from the first property-class, and then again an equal number from the second class, and then from the members of the third class, except that it was not to be compulsory for all to vote for those to be elected from the members of the third or the fourth class, and to elect from the fourth class was only compulsory for the members of the first and second classes; and afterwards from those thus selected he says that they are to appoint [20] an equal number from each class. Thus those who elect the members from the highest property classes will be more numerous and better,2 because some of the lower orders will abstain from voting3 as it is not compulsory. Accordingly that it is not proper to establish a constitution of this character from a blend of democracy and monarchy appears clearly from these considerations, and from what will be said later when our inquiry comes to deal with this class of constitution; also the provision for the election of the rulers from among candidates chosen at a preliminary election is dangerous, for if even a moderate number of people choose to combine into a party, the elections will always go according to their wish.

Such are the points as to the constitution in the Laws.

There are also certain other constitutional schemes, some drawn up by amateurs and others by philosophers and statesmen, but all of them are nearer to those which have been actually established and by which states are governed at present than are both of those which have been considered; for nobody else has introduced the innovation of community of children and women, nor that of public meals for the women, but they start rather with the necessary reforms. For some persons think that the right regulation of property is the most important; for the question of property, they say, is universally the cause of party strife. Therefore the Chalcedonian Phaleas4 was the first who introduced this expedient; for he says that the citizens' estates ought to be equal

1 Plato wrote ‘monarchy,’ Plat. Laws 693d (cf. here 3.13).

2 i.e. a better ellective body because representative of all classes.

3 i.e. from voting for the preliminary list from the third and fourth classes.

4 Otherwise unknown.

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