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The Evolution Of Democracy: How America Has Changed Greece's Greatest Achievement

907 words - 4 pages

Throughout the history of the world, most governments have been ruled through royalty, theocratic leaders, or oligarchs. However, in ancient Greece, many of the subdivided city states developed what they called demokratia, a system of voting controlled by the people of the city (Cartledge 1). The most famous of these democracies was, of course, Athens. Of course, the modern system of democracies can compare to the set up of Greece's democracies, but on a worldwide scale, with America holding the symbolic torch of modern democracies, with quasi-democratic countries bringing up the rear. Though the concept of democracy has remained largely the same since its inception, American democracy is ...view middle of the document...

This created many enemies for the fledgling democracy, most especially the rich and formerly powerful. However, even with the opposition of the richer segment of society, there was a time of stable democracy in which the Parthenon was built, Sophocles and the philosophers were rationalizing, and all seemed right. Yet, with the beginning of the Peloponnesian War in 431, democracy came under attack in Athens, cultivating with a series of successful but short-lived coups by oligarchs supported by Athens' enemy, Sparta (Cartledge 2). With these continued changes and attacks on Athenian democracy, the stability of the system is hard to feel confident about. Nevertheless, with the works created in Athens came many valuable methods of deriving a less-attacked form of democracy for future governments.Both forms of democracy support voting by and for the people; however, American democracy has changed the face of democracies drastically. In Athens, only five thousand people that could attend the Assembly did so regularly, of 250,000 people in the province (Cartledge 3), whereas modern American democracy, even with poor voter turnout, is the choice of millions of people. Additionally, in Athens, decisions were generally made by popular vote, and juries and officials were chosen by lot, then reimbursed for their lost farming time (Cartledge 3). America, as with most modern democracies, is a representative democracy, essentially a republic wherein the people choose their leaders instead of councils appointing them. American juries are chosen by the attorneys. In America, holding office is a job, not a temporary set back from one's profession. Athens was also a “men's club,” meaning only free,...

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