The Athenian Democracy And The Roman Republic Essay

The Athenian Democracy And The Roman Republic Essay

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The system of government we have today was starting to developed centuries ago by the Athenians and Romans. Both governments were established with the intent to give power to the people, even though it did not always play out that way in society. The Athenian democracy and the Roman republic were two very different governments in practice, but also maintained similar characteristics in both systems of government.
The Athenian government was a democratic government, which means it was ruled by the people to vote and have a voice in society. The democracy was slowly formed by leaders Solon and Cleisthenes. Solon took over when Athens was in political turmoil. He introduced new reforms to forgive debts, outlaw new loans, free people that had gone into slavery for unpaid debts, and also created a new structure in government. Solon organized citizens in four new classes based on wealth allowing the top two classes (the wealthiest) could participate in political office. This was the first stepping stone in creating a democracy, where it opened the door to new non-aristocratic citizens. Cleisthenes set the foundations for the Athenian democracy, which was backed by the people. He took power away from the nobles by organizing new divisions on the populations into ten tribal groups. Each group was allowed to elect fifty representatives by lot each year for a new council of five hundred, which extended the voting rights and representatives to most male citizens in Athens. A limited democracy was established when Cleisthenes took all power away from the nobles and Areopagus. They were no longer allowed to act like a supreme court, oversee the laws and government, or be the sole voice of the people. The major offices in the Athe...

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...trary the Athenians allowed anyone to be in government as long as they were a male citizen. A form of the executive branch emerged from both systems; Rome had two consuls elected by council and Athens had a council of five hundred men. They both had different regulations on who was able to be a citizen. The Athenians only granted citizenship to native born males, while the Romans gave half citizenship to Italians allowing them to have full rights, but were not able to vote.
The Athenian and Roman government may seem like they are very different, but they also have many similarities. From the beginning they both created systems based on the idea where people had all the power, but as time progressed the two systems went in different directions. Hundreds of years ago they formed systems that became a stepping stone in the government the United States has today.

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