Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

John Kayser

Second Advisor

Rebecca Clark

Third Advisor

Stephen Brunet


Aristotle’s Politics is a study of political science, established by Aristotle as the practical science of all things related to the polis, the highest human community, with the purpose of securing and promoting the good life, that of noble action and happiness, for its citizens. Aristotle observes that the political communities in existence around him all fall short of this lofty goal, and much of the Politics and subsequent commentary on the Politics is an attempt to establish what type of regime is best able to achieve this highest end of the polis. This paper argues that the relationship between the end of the city, the happiness of its citizens, and the methods used to achieve that end are reciprocal, and that as such only the ideal form of regime change is capable of producing the ideal regime. Through an analysis of the Nicomachean Ethics, the Politics, and the Constitution of Athens, this study demonstrates that there is, according to Aristotle, only one proper method of regime change: education. Through proper education, of both the young and the old, both civic and intellectual, in what is noble and what is useful, the regime is able to progress towards the ideal regime simply. This ideal regime simply, then, is the rule of the virtuous multitude, in which all citizens of the city have achieved full virtue. Given that this may in fact be impossible, it is also apparent that it is only through proper education that the best regime possible is reached; any regime that has the ability, through education, to move closer to the regime of the virtuous multitude.