Aristotle, and W. Rhys Roberts. Rhetoric. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2004. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Book I, chapter 8
Aristotle is emphatic about the responsibility of a speaker to understand situations thoroughly. “The most important and effective qualification for success in persuading audiences and speaking well on public affairs is to understand all the forms of government and to discriminate their respective customs, institutions, and interests” (Aristotle I.8, B 1365b). The ability of whatever government applies to a discussion to make a choice according to its interests is very important. Aristotle discusses in brief the governing style of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy, as well as the division of monarchy with limited authority and tyranny, which does not have such limitations. He also discusses the goals of different systems. “The end of democracy is freedom; of oligarchy, wealth; of aristocracy, the maintenance of education and national institutions; of tyranny, the protection of the tyrant” (Aristotle I.8, B 1366a). The effective speaker will persuade the audience not only of his cause, but of his being a person who is credible, whose ethics and values are aligned with the audience, and who is trustworthy in advancing the audience’s goals.