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Aristotles Political Virtue and Modern Conceptions of Citizenship - Essay Example
Several key moments in history helped to develop the definition and importance of citizens in society: Aristotle's Politics, the constitution of Athens, Roman republics, city-states of 13th century Italy, Geneva, the English Civil War and its commonwealth ideology, republicanism of the Enlightenment, the American Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and republican despotism of the French Revolution's Committee of Public Safety…
Aristotle's beliefs still hold relevance in today's conceptions of citizenship.
Aristotle writes that prior to inquiring about the attributes and essences of government a person must find an answer to the question "What is a state" (Book 3, chapter 1, 1275a). In Politics (1252-3), Aristotle states his belief that humans came together out of a common need, thus the formation of cities and city-states. Cities served as a means to better control the residents within a given country or empire; the city still served as the most effective point of contact between the people who ruled and those they ruled over (Freeman, 1999). With this thought in mind, a city would seem to run much more effectively while under the administration of one leader--so perhaps a civilisation could too.
It is evident, therefore, that we must begin by asking, who is the citizen, and what is the meaning of the term For here again there may be a difference of opinion. ...