preview

The Art of Democracy

Satisfactory Essays
Democracy was founded in the ancient Greece city-state of Athens. Athens went through a couple of systems of government before coming upon democracy. Democracy was created in order to satisfy the citizens of Athens and helped to revolutionalize politics in ancient Greece and, a couple of centuries later, the rest of the world. Because the revolutionary ideas of the Athenians had more solutions than problems, I believe that the government system of democracy was an important and successful innovation.

Before creating the democratic form of government that the Athenians first used, Athens practiced the oligarchy. Athens had a center of government in their city state known as the polis. The polis was the city-state’s center for government. All around Greece, people were using a polis as their center of government. But rather than having democracy as their forms, they ranged from oligarchy (“rule by the few”) to tyranny (“rule by the tyrant”) and the in betweens of timocracy (“rule by the wealthy”) and aristocracy (“rule by the best”). It was only in response to the crisis of corruption within their oligarch that Athens decided to start the Council of 500, and create the rule by the people (C).

The power that the oligarchy held was divided among three bodies of democratic like government. The first was the ekklesia. The ekklesia was the people. It consisted of every male citizen in Athens. It functioned as the major decision making body of government. All male citizens could vote, be elected, and had equal say. Freedom of speech was also honored.

The next body of government is the boule. This body was the Council of 500. It served by making the daily legislations. They impimented theirs laws under direct supervision of the ekklesia. Each Council member served for a one year term and all citizens were eligible to be chosen (A). The Council members were random Athenian males (“not elites or charismatic individuals”) because the offices were not filled by election, but rather by a lottery (D).

The third body of government was the deme. This body subdivided the territory that the polis governed into sections. The member of each deme selected a specific number of boule members. The representation was relatively equal and helped to connect the entire city of Athens to the democratic government (A).

Athenian democracy created a few problems however. The majority of the major Greek philosophers disagreed with the political system as a whole.
Get Access