PLato Vs Aristotle - Principles of Political Power

Essay by ikilledpunkUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2006

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Throughout history, many scholars have attempted to develop the perfect governing body. Three of these major scholars, Plato; Jefferson; and Aristotle, have had a great impact on our government. The most influential of the three on contemporary US society is Jefferson.

In contemporary US society, the individual comes first. Individual rights have been promoted throughout our history. The ruling party has been used to enforce these rights. Occasionally, the state is placed before the individual -- Welfare, Social Security, and Medicare are programs promoting the responsibilities of the government. The U.S. Social Philosophy today adopts aspects from Plato, Jefferson, and Aristotle. It is hard to say one or the other is more viable. We have republicans, and we have democrats. If our country cannot make up its mind, how can we pin our society on one way of thinking? Plato, Jefferson, and Aristotle all knew what they wanted; in contemporary U.S.

society all three scholars are relevant but Jefferson's is predominant.

Plato places the state ahead of the individuals. He believes that the group as a whole is more important than an individual person. If the individual does his part to make the state work, then the individual will be happy. Plato was ahead of his time because he was able to acknowledge that a one-man government would not work. Legislators should convince the citizens that they should think of what is best for the state, not what is best for themselves as individuals (Plato, 322). The reason this philosophy would not work in contemporary U.S. society is that the U.S. citizen does not want to work hard to support the families of people who drink too much and do not go to work. In addition Plato says, Legislators should not have as good a life as a...