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St. Augustine Political Philosophy

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Essay title: St. Augustine Political Philosophy

Saint Augustine was born is 354 in a North Africa province part of the Roman Empire. Growing up in the Roman Empire was a major influence on his work. He is well known for his theological teaching on Christianity and developed much of its doctrine. Augustine wrote on political philosophy as well and developed his own ideas on what the ideal state is. Augustine believes that government is an act of God and its function is to allow people to live good lives. The state is a part of God's ultimate plan. The type of government is not important as the state playing its role to God. The church and government will be the key institutions in society and each will take care of different functions.

The purpose of Augustine's ideal state is to establish institutions in society to allow people to live their lives with justice, order, faith and protection. Augustine's idea of justice is influenced by Plato and Roman culture. The state should promote justice and mercy as examples of morality for the citizens. Augustine writes that people have original sin and are motivated by selfish interests. The state's most important function is to maintain order among the people. The state should be very stable and prevent too much disruption in people's lives. Augustine sees this as an important function because maintaining order will allow people to be more spiritually focused and more connected with god. Faith is a protected right for all citizens and the state will not interfere with the church. The state will perform the secular duties and the church will take care of the spiritual matters. The state's main purpose is to perform the secular tasks of society, building empires, generating wealth, and ensuring democracy are not as important.

Augustine's state is based on his experiences with the Roman government and the power of the Catholic Church. However the greatest influence is Christianity. Christian elements are seen throughout his writings on how states should function. The power structure of the church and how it relates in society during his time was influential. Augustine's teachings on original sin also contribute to his views.

According to Augustine the state is a function of God and that gives it certain powers over people's lives. The state and the church will both have certain responsibilities concerning public life. The state will have the power to do what it can to maintain order. This could mean that there could be limits on private ownership and restricted personal rights. Augustine is not specific on what the limits on private and public power will be. If the state is properly performing its secular functions then the means are not so important. Ideally to Augustine the state would not be oppressive in anyway and people for the most part would be given freedom and certain rights. If a state's main goal is to maintain order than most likely it would be more restrictive on certain private rights.

Augustine's ideal state is one that performs it secular duties for society in accordance with God's will. Augustine is more concerned with the ideal state achieving those ends. The means of achieving those ends are not as important. A monarchy would be the preferable style of government. Augustine does not disapprove of democracy or aristocracy. A monarchy most resembles the relationship people have with God. A monarch is single ruler with great prestige and importance, that similar to how the church teaches

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