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Political Science
Course Code
Janice Stein
Study Guide

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Political Thinking POL200Y1
Thucydides as historian and theorist
! Athens and Sparta were the superpower of Greece
! Athens and Sparta led victory for Greece against Persian
! Athens are sea power and Sparta is on land
! After that Athens began to take power/empire over Greece
! He didn’t record exactly what happened but recreated them - moments
! He included his large/general judgements about human nature
! About human nature
! Democracy as a form of political regime
! Theorist who educates our judgement on political questions ie justice
! Did not imagine any utopian politics
! Views politics to critically be evaluated
! What significance does Thucydides have in theoretical level?
! His purpose is to be useful to explain human nature in politics
! Diagnosis of civil war
! Saw world has suffering and filled with injustices (political diseases)
! He believes that they used to make their stories
! Distinguishes useful knowledge is different then pleasurable stories
! They aren’t suspicious
! Also distinguishes himself from the truth but his is the alternative truth for
his reader
! Offers a philosophical approach as human nature is unchanging and is
extra historical
! Can only be appreciated by the way it behaves in history
! History is the way to understand human nature
! Why did he turn to history and not poetry?? Medical science?
! Error that the Athenians made in the past because they fail to see the
tyranny of their ancestor
! Ignorance of their own pasts
! Their democrats was founded on a mistake
! Misunderstanding past… Athenians robbed some knowledge that would
have helped them
! When planning against Cicily in military world
! For Thucydides for we are conditioned by the past
! Understanding our past can be a preconditioned for political improvement
! Asks whether forgetful of past a defining characteristic of democracy
! Wondering whether Athenians understand past and undrstand where they came
from . … philosophical order
! Speeches and actual political behaviour
! Pg13 - speeches are slippery and untrustworthy and can decieve us if we
are not trained to understand our past
! Deeds can be looked into as they are done
! He writes to give his thoughts and is inviting reader to understand political

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Political Thinking POL200Y1
rhetoric and behaviour
! Thucydides is meaning to teach us the political regime using history and to
make us understand facts
! Thucydides starts with past, articulates the tech of power that Greeks have
developed over time
! Key tech od power
! Walls/security, ships/naval power, liquid money/cash
! These are progresses that Greeks have made for themselves
! He disagrees with poets
! His war is the greatest war because of the suffering
! Plague on the body politics
! The plague (literally used in the book is also a metaphor in the destruction
of political body
! Greeeks were related by language kinship and religion groups
! They were related by culture
! = global war turns out to be a civil war between brothers
! What relation there may be unchanging human culture and political culture
Causes of the War/ national character
! Ethos - character of particular political regime
! Spartan fear
! Spartans claims to be the liberator of Greece
! “your struggle will be much rent then yourself” - knowledge of the enemy is
! Is democracy the innovative regime
! Main art of democracy is freedom and equality
! This freedom can create problem as individuals create their own agenda
! Corinthians stress the ideal of the Athenians’ willing to sacrifice themselves for
the common good
! What would make the Athenians more democratic- for the city and not self
! Patriotic ethos?
Athenian Justification
! Athenians give the speech to recall the past
! They self sacrificed for the nation as they left home to go to sea (islanders nation)
! Athenians argue that they were generous
! They view themselves as leaders and not empirilists
! They do it for the good of themselves and the others as welll
! They believe that their behaviours are acceptable
! (The Spartans also made the same ppoint about themselves internally)
! They claim that it is useful for them to take control and use things for their own
good, because they were compelled to take their leadership role

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Political Thinking POL200Y1
! They were driven by fear honour and self interest because someone else less
suitable would have taken that role
! They suggest that international relation is shot through moral ambiguity and
political power
Spartan war council
! Human nature must be understood with poltical culture
! Spartan King Speech
! He implicitly accepts the idea that justice and injustice is irrelevant to nation
! But what is most advantageous is important
! He was also worried that asking for peace was cowardice for Spartans
! Shows that Military ethos- war as a needed solution
! He called the division of group who were cowards wanting peace and who were
the men wanting war
! Arcidumus had to fight in interest of prudence
! He argued that the tradiionalism of Spartans make them courageous
! Their slow thinking make them well thoughtful
! Archidumus counts their slowness
! Poltics is not also subject to rationalism
! His speech turns out to be useless as the small speech by St
! Indifference to him Perticiles shows that correct analysis can show an outcome
! Shows democratic rationalists
! Has the tech of military power is shown off
! Through speech speech he shows a self image
! Before Greek men were farmers when the battles were usually about two groups
for land
! Athenians are to take over Spartans by their
! What is the connection between innovation and democracy
! Democracy is accepting the poor - produces are culture were everyone is
heard even the poor
! 430 BC - periclian oration
! In contrasts there is not oration for the Spartans
! Because of its novelty democracy is needed
! If citizens were willing to be killed for Athens then there needs to be a
public oration
! This oration also doesn’t go to the past
! Perticles offers the democratic way of life and show why Athenian
democracy is better than Spartan Oligarchy
! Democracy is free and Athenians fight for that
! Pg45 -
! It’s a pleasure and an honor to die for father land
! Athenians voted to go to war and went to war on their own unlike
nowdays democracy where it’s a decision of a president
! The Athenian freedom allowed them to develop themselves and provided
the context where highest of human nature can be realized
! They are self sufficient citizens
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