It would seem the kind of direct democracy that Athens had might lead to anarchy at the worst and arbitrary decisions or unstable policies at the least. Both ancient and modern democratic experiments have shown that the will of the people sometimes is undeceive, changing to and fro with every rhetorical wind that blows. Yet, as surprising as it may seem, Athenian d... ... middle of paper ... ...ney. How democratic was the Athenian government? It was democratic in the sense that participation by the people was mandatory in order to run the government.
A Political, Social, and Cultural History. New York: Oxford University Press. 1999. Powell, Anton. Athens and Sparta- Constructing Greek Political and Social History from 478 BC.
The Athenians “ruled with heavy-handed, even brutal force as well as with reason” (Kagan 2). This was due largely to the fact that Athens had a stable and effective government, which only increased their advantage in proving themselv... ... middle of paper ... ... 371 B.C. Sparta faced a critically wounding loss against Thebes. Eventually, all of Sparta’s empire would be destroyed when Philip II of Macedon conquered all of Greece, due to its instability, which “made them vulnerable to a takeover by Macedonia several decades later” (C.S “The Peloponnesian War”.) The causes of the Peloponnesian War proved to be too great between the tension-filled stubborn Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta.
By so doing, the society was looking for an avenue that would guarantee democracy and a society that is fair for everyone. The city-state of Athens was the epicenter of the revolution for the Athenian democracy during the fifth century BC. In the Athenian democracy, the electorate voted for the legislation of bills instead of a direct democracy where the electorates are tasked with electing representatives who later developed the bill. Among the first people who made significant contributions to the development of the Athenian democracy were Solon (594 BC), Cleisthenes (508/7 BC), Pericles (495 – 429 BC) and Ephialtes (462 BC). Pericles was the longest serving democratic leader who contributed much development in democracy in the city.
Jonah Goldberg wrote an article in which he said, "The ignorance of the typical American when it comes to politics is often staggering." He does not mince his words in saying that he believes that normal people of society are not fit in knowledge to the extent of making a just decision of who should act as President. He is not the first to believe this however. The notion that society must be protected from itself when it comes to electing officials goes back to Ancient Greece. Plato's Republic is widely regarded as a masterpiece of social and political philosophies.
He was intelligent, serious, and physically “perfect” (Hamish 18). As his status grew in Athenian government, his influence on the people of Athens grew too. “Pericles was the statesman and strategos (general) under whose rule Athens won and enforced political and cultural dominance over other Greek city-states” (Alan and Phillips OL). Unfortunately though, his fame ended a bit early. In 429 B.C.E., Pericles caught the plague, and died the same year.
History has witnessed the rise and fall of many powerful cities, starting with Ur and Babylon and continuing into present day with cities such as New York City. Two of these cities, ancient Athens and ancient Rome, stand out from other cities of their time due to their culture, politics, and influence, both on the world around them and on future civilizations. These strengths qualify them as world cities, and despite their eventual losses of power, their legacies live on. Athens obtained hegemony around 448 BC, right after the war-like city-state of Sparta. Athens’ Golden Age was under the rule of Pericles, who initiated a large number of public works projects and encouraged the arts and literature.
Athenian government was not immune to tyranny either. Through exercising their political influence, popular Athenian statesmen overruled the sovereignty of Athenian citizens, coercing the Athenian government to enact laws in their favor. In Professor Paul Cartledge’s article “The Democratic Experiment”, Cartledge states, “To make it as participatory as possible, most officials and all jurymen were selected by lot. This was thought to be the democratic way, since election favored the rich, famous and powerful over the ordinary citizen (Cartledge, 2014).” It was for this very reason that the Athenian Empire met its demise during the Peloponnesian War, causing the city-states of Ancient Greece to wage war against the tyrannical corruption of Athens. Truly, the many different forms of Greek government hold both similarities and differences.
The Roman Senate has been called the "most distinguished and important political body, which has ever existed in the world." Political Struggle The struggle for political power was the economic struggle between rich and poor. Gradually, reforms were forced through. Compelled at first to fight for its very existence against powerful neighbors, Rome gradually fought its way to the leadership of the Italian civilizations. Success of Rome Slowed Down By Gauls The successful progress of Rome received a temporary difficulty in 390 BC when wandering Gauls advanced through the center of Etruria.
; it represents a very vibrant, evolutionary stage in Greek history. The rise of the lower class in Athens probably did help spark ideas of democracy, yet the significant contributions of the political leadership of Solon, Cleisthenes, and Pericles can undisputedly be credited for the primary development of Athenian democracy. In 594 B.C., the first major political and economic reformer Solon came into power. The next reformer was Cleisthenes; he lived from 570 to 508 B.C. The final, and most revolutionary of the three was Pericles.