Aristotle – The Politics
Another fundamental work in its discipline. Despite never having read it until now, it still felt like review. This may be because it has influenced every major work since. Aristotle goes through the positives and negatives of the three major forms of government: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.
Drawing from The Nicomachean Ethics and its emphasis on moderation, Aristotle prefers the mean version of each type of government to its extreme versions. Ever the taxonomist, Aristotle spends a good chunk of the book discussing weak, medium, and strong variants of all three forms of government.
Aristotle also takes a stab at constructing his ideal state, though not to the same level of detail as his teacher Plato did in The Republic. In line with the times, Aristotle has only a grudging acceptance of trade and commerce, arguing for ports to be built at a distance from the polis to keep moral degradation away, and to trade only for things the polis cannot produce for itself.