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[1298b] [1] and these govern in accordance with law as in the former case, this is oligarchical; and also when the deliberative officials are elected by co-optation, and when the office is hereditary and has supreme control over the laws, this system is bound to be oligarchical. But when certain persons control certain matters, for instance when all the citizens control decisions as to war and peace and the audit of officials while everything else is controlled by magistrates and these are elected by vote, not by lot,1 the constitution is an aristocracy; while if some matters are controlled by magistrates elected by vote and others by magistrates chosen by lot, and this either directly or from a list previously selected by vote, or if magistrates elected by vote and by lot sit in a joint body, some of these regulations are features of an aristocratic constitution and others of constitutional government itself.

We have then in this way distinguished the different kinds of deliberative body in relation to the forms of constitution, and each form of constitution carries on the administration in accordance with the distinction stated. But for a democracy of the form that at the present day is considered to be democracy in the fullest degree (and I mean one of the sort in which the people is sovereign even over the laws) it is advantageous for the improvement of its deliberative function for it to do the same as is done in oligarchies in the matter of the law-courts (for they enact a fine to compel the attendance on juries of those whom they want to attend, whereas democratic states institute payment for attendance for the benefit of the poor), and also to do this in respect of the assemblies [20] (for they will deliberate better when all are deliberating jointly, the common people when with the notables and these when with the masses), and it is also advantageous for those who deliberate to be elected by vote or by lot equally from the different sections, and, if the men of the people far exceed the political class in number, it is advantageous either not to give pay to all but only to as many as are commensurate with the number of the notables, or to discard by lot those who exceed this number. In oligarchies on the other hand it is advantageous either to co-opt some persons from the multitude, or to institute an office like the one that exists in certain constitutional governments under the flame of Preliminary Councillors or Guardians of the Law,2 and deal with the matters about which these officials have held a preliminary deliberation (for thus the common people will have a share in deliberation and will not have the power to abolish any part of the constitution), and then for the people by their vote either to confirm or at all events not to pass anything contrary to the resolutions brought before them, or to allow all to take part in debate but only the magistrates to frame resolutions; and in fact it is proper to do just the opposite of what takes place in constitutionally governed states; for the common people ought to be given power to vote the rejection of a measure, but not to vote its ratification, but it should be referred back to the magistrates. In constitutional governments the procedure is the reverse; the few are competent to vote the rejection of a resolution but are not competent to vote its ratification, this being always referred back to the most numerous body.

1 The MSS. give ‘or by lot.’

2 There were πρόβουλοι at Corinth as well as a βουλή and an ἐκκλησία; and νομοφύλακες at Sparta, Athens and elsewhere: at Athens they sat with the presidents of the βουλή and ἐκκλησία to check illegal procedure.

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    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.1
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