POLITSC 3220 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Sound Opinions, Wers, Parliamentary System

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16 Sep 2015
Pol. Science 3430- Political Theories on Freedom
Lecture One- 8/26
Freedom = a democracy as the regime in place
“Freedom” (German roots) originally designed to separate classes and people. Ex) Free person
vs. slave
Ethical meaning as well, free people were expected to be honest, smart, moral, hold a code of
Plato’s Republic Reading: Plato’s account of a just city
The only just city is one which philosophers become kings or kings become philosophers
Definition of democracy according to Socrates rule by the poor over the rich, overthrow of the
rich ruling
Your soul, psyche, is a result of what you live under, a product of your environment
Socrates- choosing leaders (Congressman, lawmakers) at random from the population
Desires= Necessary (water, sex, food) and unnecessary (desires for luxury, can do without them
and can train yourself not to have them)
Oligarchs hoarded wealth, did not spend wealth
Plato- the son of the rich man is the one who spends it all and has a taste for wealth, not the
father who saved and made the wealth
Lecture Two- 8/28
Socrates: 469-399 BCE
Plato: 428- 348 BCE
Aristotle: Student of Plato, Macedonian 384-322 BCE
^ All wrote in the Golden Age of Athens
Polybius: 203- 120 BCE- lived during the period when Greece was conquered by the Romans-
explained in “The Histories” how Rome became so politically successful and how Rome
conquered Greece
Status (Ethos)  Independent, wealthy, land-owning
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“Polis”= city
“Politeia”= constitution
Every Greek city has a ruling class
Common Good Self- interest
One Kingship Tyranny
Few Aristocracy
(the best/
Many Politeia
“Good laws, if they are not obeyed, do not
constitute good government.”
Polybius Reading: Cycle of constitutions (Takes Aristotle’s constitutions and puts them in
Lecture Three- 9/2
Machiavelli: 1469-1527, Florence
Political advisor for Piero Soderini
1513- The Prince
1517- Discourses on Livy (Reading)
Rome: Good fortune in maintaining peace and
Sparta: Genius of its founder, Lycedonia
Constant conflict between the people and the great,
this is what made Rome great, this competition
Oligarchy- rule of the rich
What is there was a city where the few were
the rich and the many were the poor?
Is it the few-ness of an oligarchy that makes it
an oligarchy? Or the rich-ness?
The distinguishing characteristic of an
oligarchy is their rich- ness.
Democracy describes itself as the regime of
freedom- doing as one likes
The ability to rule and be ruled at the same
Rome: Two consuls, one
fighting wars and one
ruling Rome
Roman assembly (Town
Hall Meeting) of
All the classes are working
together, the sharing of
political power
The people have political
safe-guards to protect them
from an elite take-over
Each class is protected from
the other classes
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