Athenian Democracy

Topics: Democracy, Athenian democracy, Ancient Greece Pages: 3 (932 words) Published: November 11, 2010
Athenian Democracy
Who really made our type of government? We surely didn’t. It was amazingly the people of Athens. It started in 508 BC and is still around as we use it. It remains a unique and intriguing experiment in direct democracy where the people do not elect representatives to vote on their behalf but vote on legislation and executive bills in their own right Participation was not at all open, but the in-group of participants was constituted with no reference to economic class and they participated on a scale that was truly phenomenal. The public opinion of voters was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters.

Only adult male Athenian citizens who had completed their military training as ephebes had the right to vote in Athens. We have had that and many other laws changed around the government. In our government every few years the people vote on new people to represent them, hence the name “Representative” Democracy. However the Athenian people also voted on some of their leaders but that was done in the Agora, which is where every male land owner who is over the age of twenty would meet. This meeting was called the assembly. The assembly could be best related to our State Representatives.Then just above them was the council of 500, who monitored the assembly and gave them topics to discuss, as well as bills to vote on. Above the council of 500 come the Magistrates. The Magistrates job can be best described as the “Police in the Government.” Their job is to ensure that all the laws are being followed and act accordingly when they are not. The Magistrates, despite the amount of power that they hold, are still not the highest government official in the Athenian democracy, after them comes the Council of the 10 Generals. The Council of 10 Generals was in charge of the military.

The Athens didn’t start by being a democratic city. It was started by Cleisthenes whose reforms turned Athens from an...
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