In my previous post on Polybius, I promised to tell you why he is so important to us Americans in particular. Here is why:
His ultimate explanation for Rome’s greatness was that Rome had a constitution that was uniquely and perfectly balanced between the three types of government: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.
An excess of any of the three, Polybius thought, was bad. Monarchy led to tyranny, aristocracy to oligarchy, and democracy to mob rule. (Worth pondering, you anti-elitist Palinistas out there.)
But Rome achieved balance: the consuls were the monarchical element, the senate the aristocratic, and the popular assemblies the democratic.
Our founding fathers agreed with Polybius completely. And so they set out to create that same, perfectly-balanced constitution. Arguably, they succeeded. So we are the modern Rome of Polybius!
(I can tell you what the American analogs to the consuls, senate and assemblies are, but I’ll let you guess first.)