Running Head: Athenian Democracy Athenian Democracy Athenian Democracy There are several different forms of rule in different parts of the world, which include being ruled by the aristocracy, dictatorship, and other forms…
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Hence, the people had no say or no choices regarding the laws made for them and were forced to follow what was laid out for them by the autocratic leadership. However, democracy is a different branch of leadership, which aims to account for the opinions and needs of the people that the laws are being made for and they do not give the leader the right to oppress the people in any way. The leader or so-called government is answerable to the public regarding the laws, policies, and procedures taken. While this form of leadership seems just and fair, it has been in existence for a long time (Tharley, 1996, pp. 32-36). “Democracy” is a word taken from the Greek language and refers to a system of being “ruled by the people”. This system originated in Athens, Greece and has been prevalent for approximately 2500 years now. Before this time, people were ruled according to other systems for a period of approximately 4000 years. Hence, democracy has not been perfected yet as regards to other systems as it is relatively newer than the previous forms of rule (Tharley, 1996, pp. 26-28). However, Athenian democracy had its advantages and disadvantages while it prevailed as a system. Beginning in approximately the 5th century B.C., democracy has been practiced in varying forms and with different levels of thoroughness and understanding. However, it was regarded as one of the best systems till date (Laurex, 2006, pp. 167-168). The Athenians thought that the people should be given free will to express their ideas and this was carried out on a ten-day basis in an Assembly that constituted of all the male adults over the age of eighteen. The system was efficient and fair as all citizens were given equal rights to vote and common people were making laws for themselves. Another advantage was that were no protocols or extravagant arrangements made for elections or prolonged campaigns. Money was not wasted in this manner and ordinary people of the land got together and collectively decided upon laws for the whole land (Jones, 1953, p. 16). This was a reasonably good system and it worked well with the Athenians. The main reason for the continuous success of this system was the morality and righteousness of the citizens. Extremes were absolutely avoided in politics and the very first lawgiver of Athens believed in promoting the “greater good” which meant that all decisions were taken to benefit society as a whole instead of focusing upon individual goals. This feeling or phenomenon is greatly missing in society today and this notion is not prevalent in today’s politicians who are mainly seeking to promote selfish goals and their own individual benefits. The greater good for the benefit of society is missing and as society may want to play a role in their own governmental activities, they are not given active participation or due say in today’s democracy (Jones, 1953, pp. 13-14). However, looking at the Athenian system from a modern perspective, it can be said that while the system was fair in most regards and encouraged equal participation regardless of status, caste, or any other means of discrimination, it was biased against females. Females were not given due recognition if any at all in the Athenian system of democracy as mainly all the males over the age of eighteen were elected to assemblies and were given the opportunity to vote and make laws for everyone in the land.
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