Pure Democracy In Action

Topics: Democracy, Ancient Greece, Social class Pages: 2 (624 words) Published: March 11, 2014
Athens, one of the most famous and well known city-states of ancient Greece. This city-state, named after the goddess Athena, was famous for its innovations in architecture, arts, and government. The city-state of Athens is very famous for its unique system of government that was the first of its kind, direct democracy. This system allowed for the citizens of the city of Athens to decide what was to be done in their city, without the necessity of representatives to do what they thought the people wanted. The revolutionary system was developed so that everyone had a say in what they thought should be done in the area that they lived in. Although the voting and participation was not open to everyone the, participants were not based on social or economic class and therefore was on a much larger scale. It is believed that the notion of direct democracy was first proposed by Ephialtes in 462 BC followed by Cleisthenes in 508/7 BC and lastly Solon in 594 BC. It is debated on whether the system of democracy used in Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica was effective and progressive. Many of the higher classed citizens thought it ludicrous to allow people of lower class any control over Athens. Most of the critics were in the elite class where giving “poor and uneducated people power over their betters seemed a reversal of the proper, rational order of society” (Athenian Democracy). They did not see this as equal rights but rather as the poor and uneducated having control over the rich and powerful. The people of those times saw it as sort of a modern stock company: “democracy is like a company where all shareholders have an equal say regardless of the scale of their holding; one share or ten thousand, it makes no difference. (Athenian Democracy)” Although there was a large controversy on who deserved to make their thought known Athens all was the only place at the time to think of this unique government that was as strange, foreign and unpredictable as the...
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