The Origins of American Democracy Essay

The Origins of American Democracy Essay

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The origins of American democracy took root hundreds of years before the Founding Fathers were even born. Greece and Rome, powerful nation states well-known for their expansive empires and widespread influence, have survived the test of time through their impact on other civilizations (i.e. America). America, founded on Greco-Roman principles, has grown “from sea to shining sea” on a government recognized for its stability and opportunity. The Founding Fathers used their education of ancient history to create the foundation of American law and government. By studying the past’s success and mistakes, the Founders were able to shape a system of policies that they hoped would ensure freedom and happiness for their posterity. The ideals of famous Roman writers fermented into the democratic character of the American Constitution. The problems of the Greek city-state of Sparta steered the Founders to disfavor collectivism. The Founding Fathers were influenced by Greco-Roman governmental structure, ideological principles, and murderous mistakes.
The structure of representative American government was heavily shaped by the political systems of the Roman Republic. By definition, a republic is type government that uses elected officials to manage a state and its voters. Roman law started being written down as a constitution in 450 B.C.E., and known as the Law of the Twelve Tables, it was a collection of laws and traditions. The Twelve Tables ensured that the common citizens of Rome, the plebeians, would not be unjustly prosecuted by the aristocracy, called the patricians. This was a significant step forward for civil rights, and the republic was able to form a mixed government of three distinct branches: the office of Consuls, the Senate...


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...ing, wresting, and throwing the discus and javelin. Those who failed their training risked societal rejection by their families and friends. Girls trained to survive childbirth and bear the next generation of courageous warriors. Boys trained to be heroic soldiers, indoctrinated to rather die for Sparta than run from death. Although this harsh social system allowed Sparta to have the greatest army in all of Greece, it did however poison the minds of the Spartans. The Spartan paranoia of being conquered led to the advancement of military strength, but also led to the neglect of stability within the Spartan community (Richard). Being an individual in a society that rests on human disposability is impossible, and this very flaw prompted the Founders to stress the importance of individuality, memorialized in the saying “e pluribus unum” or “out of many there is one”.



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