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MonkeyNotes-Utopia by Sir Thomas More
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Of the Magistrates

How the towns are run is an elaborate political system that is described here. The elected head of the thirty families, as seen earlier, is the Philarchs, or what used to be called Syphogrants. These Philarchs are under the Tranibore or chief Philarch.

The two hundred Syphogrants in Utopia elect the king. Four men stand for election, representing the four quarters. Out of them one is elected to be king. This king rules for life unless he is toppled for being tyrannical. The Tranibores are elected annually but they are very seldom changed. All the other offices are for one year only. The Tranibores represent the common people to the king. They meet the king every third day (if required, more often) for discussion.

Everything related to the commonwealth has to be debated for three days before it is ratified. Politics can be discussed only in the council halls, at certain prescribed times. Going against this decree can be punished by death. This unusual rule is to prevent sedition. Matters submitted to the council are debated upon the next day. This gives the decision-makers enough time to weigh their options and not make rash decisions.


Notes

What clear cut, dignified and well-marked rules Utopia has in developing its political system. Utopia's government is based on the concept of the maximum good for the maximum number of people for the maximum time. Every citizen is represented by a hierarchy of elected officers. Utopia is a democracy where the king is elected to his position rather than ascends through inheritance. He does not take on too many powers because he can be legally deposed by the people. His power is balanced by the power of the people. This is a radical alternative to the absolute monarchy that reigned in Europe at the time. Henry VIII was soon to become an absolute despot who divorced Catherine of Aragon, married Anne Boleyn, abolished Catholicism and took over all the monasteries during his reign as king. More seems to be condemning these things in anticipation when he describes the sane and benevolent Utopia king who rules only by the will of the people.

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