Political life is essentially about the struggle between the few and the many. When one rules, the other is at a disadvantage. This is why the United States Constitution provides for two legislating bodies. One for the states (the few) and one for the populous (the many). Aristotle’s advice is to have a strong middle class. Members of the middle class generally don’t entangle themselves in factions that cause political differences. General Washington advised something similar when he gave his farewell address after his Presidency: stay away from factions. Today we see that the political environment is becoming more and more polarized while the majority of people fall in the middle of the two ideologies. The gap between rich and poor is also increasing which could further cause political upheavals.
The three main forms of government are a monarchy, an aristocracy and a democracy. Cicero does, however, mention a fourth kind of government which is really a mix of the previous three. This, he says, is superior to the others. But he speaks more of this form later on. According to the supporters of a democracy, “if the people knew how to maintain its rights, nothing could be more glorious and prosperous than democracy” (Cicero 10). On the other hand, if people were to remain free under an aristocracy, the leaders couldn’t be chosen haphazardly or at random. Only the noblest men who could be relied upon would be selected. If faced with a choice, Cicero would choose neither an aristocracy nor democracy but a monarchy. He has a valid point that a king is kind of like a father of the people and watches over them and protects their freedom. This king, of course, must be just and have the public interest in mind to avoid falling into the category of a tyrannical government.
As Cicero makes the case for a monarchy as the best form of government, his argument stands upon the notion that one is best to rule because all the power is in one place so that things run smoothly. It is compared to how one pilot is better fitted to steer a ship than many. On occasion, an oppressive man will come to the throne through birthright. In these moments, the monarchy turns into a tyranny, and then transforms into aristocracies, which then turn into democracies. This is a pattern that often happens in political regimes. The framers of the Constitution, and more notably James Madison, surely saw the issues that arose from these several forms of government. The English king, in their eyes, was oppressive as a tyrant, and the Articles of Confederation didn’t provide enough structure for the populous to rule. The solution was to devise a system of government which composed an equal mixture of the three best forms of government. Cicero argued that in this form of government, disasters and oppression would not happen unless the public men were taken by the greatest vices. So by using Cicero’s suggestion, the founders tried to put a system in place in which it would be difficult to fall into any negative effects of any one of the political forms of government.