Politiques, or Discourses of Government.

“THE FATHER OF MODERN DEMOCRACY”: First edition in English of Aristotle's Masterpiece Politiques, or Discourses of Government

Politiques, or Discourses of Government.



Item Number: 138658

London: Adam Islip, 1598.

Rare first edition in English of one of the world’s most important and influential political texts, “the most valuable work on that branch of philosophy that has descended to us from antiquity.” Small folio, bound in full leather, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, front and rear panels. In near fine condition, bookplate, small name to the title page, small paper repair to the first few pages. First editions are exceptionally rare.

Aristotle’s Politics (written circa 350 B.C.) “is the most valuable work on that branch of philosophy that has descended to us from antiquity” (McCulloch, 356). It marks “a genuine attempt at political science. Aristotle shows the ways in which oligarchies fall, and the variety of situations that may follow. He goes through the likely causes of revolution. He is conscious of classes and their interests” (Levi, 403). The work embodies “theories of perennial value, and refutations of fallacies which are always re-emerging” (Hazlitt, 36). Aristotle’s history of mature Athenian democracy and the development of that city-state’s constitution greatly influenced modern political philosophy. Politics had a particularly profound effect on the formation of the United States government: Jefferson had a copy of LeRoy’s French translation in his library (Sowerby 2347), and many of the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution derive directly from Aristotle, making him in some sense “the father of modern democracy” (PMM 94). Title page with woodcut-engraved device, woocut-engraved initials, head- and tailpieces. STC 760. Pforzheimer 10. Brueggemann, 184-85. CBEL I:800. Cox I:59. Harris, 14, Lowndes, 68. Palmer, 12. Smith, 31. See PMM 38, 94.

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