Cicero on Government
Instructions:According to Cicero, the best form of government is one in which those particularly qualified to rule do so with the consent of the people. (Discuss)
Cicero on Government
Marcus Tullius Cicero was one of the influential philosophers in during the Roman rule. Cicero was majorly interested in politics rather than a philosopher. He was an excellent orator, lawyer, philosopher and a politician. Most of his writings were done at the time he was denied the right to take part in politics. Cicero suggested that the good governance is portrayed when it is led by those qualified to rule and are selected by the people to rule. Cicero actively tried to use philosophy in seeking to bring out the political cause. Cicero was well known for his oration skills when defending clients from their enemies (Van Doren 72).
Cicero was a passionate believer in the Republican government (Kapust and Schwarze 105). Through his writings on the orator, on the Republic and the laws, Cicero tries to bring out the idea that an ideal form of government can naturally exist without sacrificing peace or freedom. He outlines that a government should not just be for a man but through the laws that govern the people (Van Doren 75). Democratic ideas are drawn from the writings of Cicero. He stipulates that the people are the deciders on whether to choose the right government of choose a government that will oppress them of their rights as citizens. His concept of the natural law outlines that all humans have a right to life and property. If the government that rules them tampers with any of human rights, the people can decide not to select that oppressive government but rather select a government that will be able to cater for their rights and freedom as humans. This idea is closely related to the ideas put forth by the government of the America at times of Thomas Jefferson and John Locke’s efforts to treatise the government in England.
Cicero suggestions that the government can be at its best when the people who rule it are qualified and only selected by the people. Many scholars have tried to categorize Cicero as either a follower to the monarchy of democracy. Monarchy, according to Cicero, is a government that is ruled by the qualified in the society but are not selected by the people. In contrast to monarchy, Cicero helps us describe that if the qualified candidate in the community can meet the people’s needs, he can be selected he or she can display good governance as people will tend to feel satisfied that they chose the right person. Such thought is the modern democratic beliefs that most the countries in the world have.
Cicero thoughts are reflected directly to the current situation on the governance across different countries in the world. Laws in a democratic country states that that for one to be a leader of government he/she must be a qualified candidate and must be chosen through elections. The election is one of the best ways to show that people are in the consent of the qualified leader. Cicero believed that the politicians at his time were corrupt and did not possess the virtues required to provide good governance to the people.
Cicero also found that good governance can be destroyed by poor
aristocracy: moral decay is the destroyer of good governance. The
corrupt nature of the Roman leaders at
that time was the cause of all
difficulties that Romans experienced. Borrowing ideas with the current state of
governance and corruption in the world, our leaders are portraying a bad image
of the people’s choice with poor governance.
Now, the countries that describe good
governance are democratic. The people are the ones to decide who best fits to
be the head of the government (Kapust and Schwarze). Through Cicero’s
thoughts, scholars derived the definition of what democracy means “a government
of the people, for the people and by the people.”
Kapust, Daniel J and Michelle A Schwarze. “The Rhetoric of Sincerity: Cicero and Smith on Propriety and Political Context.” American Political Science Review 110.01(2016) (n.d.): 100-111.
Van Doren, Carl. The American Novel. Macmillan, 1921.