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Single Idea 19826

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / d. Size of government]

Full Idea

Democratic government is suited to small states, aristocratic government to states of intermediate size, and monarchical government to large ones.

Gist of Idea

Democracy for small states, aristocracy for intermediate, monarchy for large


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], III.03)

A Reaction

Is he thinking of France for the large state? What would he have made of 1789? Does this progression go on to increase the power of the monarch as the state gets even larger, into dictatorship?

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.179

Related Ideas

Idea 19825 If the sovereign entrusts government to at least half the citizens, that is 'democracy' [Rousseau]

Idea 19824 Large populations needs stronger control, which means power should be concentrated [Rousseau]

Idea 19829 Natural aristocracy is primitive, and hereditary is dreadful, but elective aristocracy is best [Rousseau]