History Paper Western Civ

Topics: Ancient Rome, Sparta, Democracy Pages: 5 (1513 words) Published: December 8, 2014

As humanity has progressed throughout history, there have been a number of times in which the interest and involvement of politics has changed. As we look back we can see that as the eras changed, interests of the people changed as well. One example of this is during the time of the Ancient Greeks. At this point in Western Civilization one polis by the name of Athens located on the coast of the Aegean Sea felt that political participation was a key factor in everyday life. Unfortunately not all Greek city-states were on the same page as the Athenians. While Athens took pride in their democratic elections, their assembly and their Council, other city-states such as Sparta took a much more different approach. Sparta was a society in which the main focus of all politics was to enter the military. Spartan men began their elite training around the age of seven. This training involved learning a number of skills such as stealth, loyalty to Sparta, military training, hunting, dancing, singing and social preparation. While this system helped Sparta become the military powerhouse it was in ancient times, it did not help them create an environment in which a complex political system could grow. The Spartans decided to opt for a political system that was stable and a system that protected the people of Sparta. By using oligarchy as their form of government, the Spartans let the powerful few rule which stagnated the role of the everyday citizen in politics. Now those few powerful people controlled every aspect of life in Sparta. Even though Sparta did not have a government that thrived on the participation of its peoples, Sparta did have one unique characteristic that the other city-states did not have. Spartan women had a status of power and respect that was not seen in the ancient world. Spartan women were given almost the same rights as their male counter parts. The women were taught to read and wright, they were allowed to participate in sports, and Spartan women even had the ability to own land in society. Even though they had all these rights, Athenians still participated more in government. This is shown by the way Athens ran its government. An example of this is the Athenian assembly. The assembly or The Ekklêsia was where citizens of Athens would meet, discuss, and vote on certain matters that involved the city. You could roughly compare the Athenian assemblies to our modern day Congress here in the United States. Both bodies have similar responsibilities but the way they each carried out their responsibilities was entirely different. The assembly was open to all male citizens regardless of class which showed that Athens promoted participation. One problem or flaw of the assembly was that not all citizens had the time or the knowledge to be able to attend each and every meeting. This meant that it was mostly the rich and powerful elite class that was voting and discussing political matters. As shown in the time of the Ancient Greeks, there were different levels of political participation across the peninsula. From the stable government of the Spartans to the more radical democratic government of the Athenians, the Greeks showed different forms of political participation. Another civilization that was ruled heavily by politics was the Romans. As the age of the Greeks was coming to an end, a small kingdom in central Italy was gaining power and growing. During this time, Rome was not yet the Rome as we know it today. In 753 BCE the Kingdom of Rome was founded on a hill top right next to the Tiber River. This kingdom lasted for around 200 years until in 509 BCE when the people of Rome overthrew the king and created a republic. Like the Athenians, the Romans also showed pride in their participation in government. However unlike the Athenians the Romans set up a republic in which the people of Rome voted for representatives and those reps then discussed, voted and participated in the government....
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