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Political Philosophies: Democracy Legalism And Tyranny

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Political philosophies determine how societies should be set up and how citizens are expected to act. Democracy, legalism, and tyranny are all political philosophies. Each political philosophy has varying advantages and disadvantages. Out of these philosophies, democracy is the best, oligarchy is the second-best, and tyranny is the worst.

Out of the three political philosophies, democracy is the best. In a democracy, the people make the decisions. Citizens are able to vote on political, social, and economical issues, and can even vote on who they want in charge. Because citizens are given power by voting, this helps to prevent monopolies from occurring. Because citizens hold so much power, they would hardly need to revolt. In Athens, Draco, Solon, Peisistratus, and Cleisthenes helped pave the road to democracy. Draco was the first to record laws in Athens. Before laws were recorded, rulers would take advantage of those accused of crimes because there was nothing to base punishments on. Even though Draco had extremely harsh punishments, he gave everyday people justice. Solon played a huge role in democratizing Athens. When he was declared ruler, he freed all enslaved people and got rid of the debt people owed from oppressive money leaders. This gave people freedom and equality. Peisistratus helped the poor by distributing land to nobles who had left Athens. For these people, land meant power. Cleisthenes was the ruler who truly brought democracy to Athens. He gave citizens the right to vote. Cleisthenes created demes, which would elect representatives to serve in the supreme council. Citizens were given the power to choose who they wanted to represent Athens. Some disadvantages to democracy are that not everyone is educated on who they’re voting for, and may make selfish decisions. Voters can be manipulated and make decisions based on what will benefit them and not the people as a whole.

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The second-rated political philosophy is legalism. Legalism is extremely controlling. It was thought that humans would choose to do wrong over right because humans were purely motivated by self-interest. Legalists believed that social harmony could only be reached by control and absolute obedience to authority. One advantage to this philosophy is that the law was known and respected. Before legalism in China, rulers would make up whatever laws pleased them. Though the punishments of breaking legalist laws were extremely harsh, laws were clear and controlled, which unified China. Another advantage to this system is that everyone (besides authority) was equal. Everyone earned the same punishments for breaking the same laws. Because citizens under the legalism philosophy feared authority, they also respected it, decreasing the chance of laws being broken. One disadvantage of legalism is that the philosophy is extremely oppressive and controlling, limiting freedom. For example, in the Qin dynasty, books and people against legalism were destroyed. People were forced into labor and had nothing to strive for, like moving up in society.

The worst-rated political philosophy is tyranny. Tyranny has absolutely no structure, allowing even the least qualified people to rule if they could gain power. Most people rising to power would use force and fear. Uncertainty was a common feeling because it was never known who would rule next and how they would rise to power. Most rulings with tyranny ruled independently with absolute power. This was a problem because rulers were allowed to rule without checks and balances, and could rule as harshly as they desired. Decisions were made independently or within small groups, which would leave the majority of people without a voice and unsatisfied. Revolutions were bound to happen frequently because the people could be mistreated, especially since most people rising to power with tyranny used force. An example of tyranny occurring was in Greece by Peisistratus. Peisistratus gained power through fear by killing all aristocrats. This resulted in citizens fearing their own government. One advantage to tyranny is that people considered a low class could have something to strive for. Anyone could become the next ruler, giving people hope.

Political philosophies are very unique, and they have helped us to form our ways of government today. Democracy, legalism, and tyranny are ranked best to worst, but all have varying advantages and disadvantages.

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Political Philosophies: Democracy Legalism And Tyranny. (2021, September 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
“Political Philosophies: Democracy Legalism And Tyranny.” Edubirdie, 20 Sept. 2021,
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Political Philosophies: Democracy Legalism And Tyranny [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 20 [cited 2023 Dec 8]. Available from:
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