America: The Modern Day Athens "We do not copy our Ancestors, but are an example to them. It is true we are called a Democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not in the few. " This is the foundation for which democracy is ruled. Without this democracy does not exist. In this essay there will be comparisons of Athenian democracy and our modern day democracy Greece, in ancient times, was not a united land.
Exploring these ideas more in depth, there was a very distinct difference in the idea of who should be running the government. In the eyes of the Athenians, the people should have more control, and should be allowed to join the Assembly, so long of course, that they are male, and a citizen of Athens. Conversely, Sparta maintains that there should one or two people leading, along with a less impactful assembly. Where Athens and Sparta do coincide is the fact that they both have as previously mentioned before: an assembly. They act in relatively similar ways, with the main difference being that the Spartan assembly could easily be vetoed by the Kings, making it practically useless in a lot of situations.
It was democratic in the sense that participation by the people was mandatory in order to run the government. But the participation of the people excluded women and slaves. Later under Pericles this came to include men who were not born to parents who were natives of Athens. The democracy in Athens gave a stepping stone to what is seen today as democracy. Bibliography: Works Cited Demand, Nancy.
This sense of independence is what led the citizens within the polis to choose their own leaders, and overthrowing leaders that had done wrong by the greater populist or that the populist felt had abused their power. Athens, furthered this sense of independence by creating a democratic Athens, where full citizens were expected to run the governme... ... middle of paper ... ...very day citizens. This is drastically different from the means currently used in the United States. Lastly, the fact that only male citizens were allowed to participate in government throughout the duration of the democratic existence in Athens. In conclusion one could say we may live in a very different and much more complex global world, but the reality is without the ancient Greeks we wouldn’t have the government structure that we currently enjoy today.
In other words, many countries and their political regimes claim to be democracies and use this word in order to gain political favor and political power. Former President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, promised his country fair elections and suggested that his regime was a democracy. However, during Nasser’s time in office, fair or true elections were never held. These actions resonate with a number of authoritarian leaders that utilize the social meaning of ‘democracy’ in order to reach a place in office. And while many countries strive to become democracies, it’s not always a possibility.
Democracy is a large component within governmental politics in the modern world we live in; some would argue that it is the only true form of “practiced politics” because democracy keeps in mind the interests of other individuals. The realm of democracy is where ideas are shared because not one being will ever possess the notion of an absolute truth. Democracy sanctioned for multiple ideas to be presented which diversified perspectives on a single issue. With democracy’s origins having been recorded to exist in Ancient Greece, this form of “rule” by “the people” as its corresponding roots of “kratos” and “demos” would define it. The Athenians were practitioners of the form of democracy known as developmental democracy.
Without a clear understanding of the history involved we are easily blinded by the eloquence and charisma that politicians utilize to control the populace. Democracy dates back to the Golden Age of Greece or the Classic Period. Not yet an organized, centralized nation Greece was made up of warring city-states none of which possessed full control over its neighbors. During this period and under these circumstances there was a tremendous advancement in Greek thought encompassing philosophy, politics, medicine, mathematics, and the sciences to name just a few areas of influence that still maintain a strong Greek legacy today. Of all the Greek city-states it was Athens that gave birth to many of the political philosophies that still survive today.
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 system of government, created by the Greeks, known as Democracy possessed many unique characteristics such as judicial review that have come to influence modern governments. The principle of equality allowed all Athenian citizens to participate in government on an equal level, a practice that as Plato pointed out is no longer feasible. Ancient Athenian democracy also utilized direct representation and did not distinguish political rights from individual rights. In this way, while Athenian democracy has influenced modern democracies through ideas such as equality and checks and balances, it cannot be said to be democratic in the modern sense of the term due to its utilization of institutions and promotion of values that no longer are applicable or desired in the modern realm of politics. Since the time of Athenian democracy, the world has experienced many intellectual movements including the enlightenment, Protestant Reformation, and the industrial revolution to name a few that have forced governments to change in response to new popular opinion and technology.
Sparta Vs Athens In Ancient Greece there were two different major forms of government, Oligarchy and Democracy. The two city-states that best represent each form of government were Sparta (oligarchy) and Athens (democracy). The democratic government in Athens, though de cently equal, fair and fairly advanced for its time, did not meet the needs of the Greeks. During a time of many military battles Athens decided to worry more about comfort and culture. It is the oligarchy in Sparta that put a war-like attitude as it's first priority and best met the needs of Ancient Greece.