Thus the greater it is in the geometrical sense, the less relation there is in the ordinary sense of the word. This accordingly gives rise to a new proportion, within which there is yet another, according to the arrangement of the magistracies, till an indivisible middle term is reached, i.
This last relation may be represented as that between the extreme terms of a continuous proportion, which has government as its mean proportional. This granted, if the whole government is in the hands of one man, the particular and the corporate will are wholly united, and consequently the latter is at its highest possible degree of intensity.
The more numerous the magistrates, therefore, the weaker the government. What then is government? The body politic has the same motive powers; here too force and will are distinguished, will under the name of legislative power and force under that of executive power.
This power it can limit, modify or recover at pleasure; for the alienation of such a right is incompatible with the nature of the social body, and contrary to the end of association. Thus, the general will is always the weakest, the corporate will second, and the individual will strongest of all: If finally the prince should come to have a particular will more active than the will of the Sovereign, and should employ the public force in his hands in obedience to this particular will, there would be, so to speak, two Sovereigns, one rightful and the other actual, the social union would evaporate instantly, and the body politic would be dissolved.
But, as countless events may change the relations of a people, not only may different governments be good for different peoples, but also for the same people at different times. In a perfect act of legislation, the individual or particular will should be at zero; the corporate will belonging to the government should occupy a very subordinate position; and, consequently, the general or sovereign will should always predominate and should be the sole guide of all the rest.
The government gets from the Sovereign the orders it gives the people, and, for the State to be properly balanced, there must, when everything is reckoned in, be equality between the product or power of the government taken in itself, and the product or power of the citizens, who are on the one hand sovereign and on the other subject.
But the total force of the government, being always that of the State, is invariable; so that, the more of this force it expends on its own members, the less it has left to employ on the whole people.
It should be added that I am here speaking of the relative strength of the government, and not of its rectitude: When I walk towards an object, it is necessary first that I should will to go there, and, in the second place, that my feet should carry me. It follows further that, one of the extreme terms, viz.
From all these differences arise the various relations which the government ought to bear to the body of the State, according to the accidental and particular relations by which the State itself is modified, for often the government that is best in itself will become the most pernicious, if the relations in which it stands have altered according to the defects of the body politic to which it belongs.
We said that the relation of the Sovereign to the subjects was greater in proportion as the people was more numerous, and, by a clear analogy, we may say the same of the relation of the government to the magistrates.
This form of government is called democracy. The government, then, to be good, should be proportionately stronger as the people is more numerous. Thus, what may be gained on one side is lost on the other, and the art of the legislator is to know how to fix the point at which the force and the will of the government, which are always in inverse proportion, meet in the relation that is most to the advantage of the State.BOOK III.
BEFORE speaking of the different forms of government, let us try to fix the exact sense of the word, which has not yet been very clearly explained.
1. GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL. I WARN the reader that this chapter requires careful reading, and that I am unable to make myself clear to those who refuse to be attentive.
Every free action is produced by the concurrence of two causes; one.Download