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Athenian Democracy And Present Democracy

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Autor:   •  March 15, 2011  •  987 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,610 Views

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a) What are the similarities and differences between the Greek concept of democracy and present day representative democracy?

The Greece word 'demokratia', which means 'governement by the people', was first used by the Greece to show their political system. Back to the 5th century BC of the classical Greece period to the modern 21st century, over such a long period of time, threre are still some similarities bewteen the Athenian democracy and our present democracy. Like our modern voting districts, the Athenian country was divided into separated units. In both systems citizens had to be registered to vote on laws and public policies. The citizens who are over 18-year-old of the state or country have the rights to vote and make decision. Athenian democracy also had similar body of government which includes the Assembly, the Council and the Courts. They had public offcials and so does most of the countries today, for example the president.

However, there are also several significant differences between those two systems. Even though the Athenian democracy system had been seen as one of the most important step forward in politics, the differences could be divided into three major parts.

One major difference is the Athenian ''men only'' policy. Unlike today's democracy allows both eligible men and women to vote. The Athenian democracy was a certain selected element of the population who was allowed to vote. Only male citizens could vote and took part in asseblies. Women, foreigners and slaves were excluded from the citizenship therefore not given the rights to vote.

Athenian democracy was also called by the direct democracy. Athenian people had their main elections via lottery but not skills, because they thought this is the democratic way and it could help them to control election corruption and campaiging, since election sometimes favored the rich and powerful over the ordinary citizens. All the citizens present had the rights to participant in the debate and each person could influence the politics. Just as most of the ancient systems, in Athens active military leaders were elected to governing positions, that they believed it created a stronger government. In today's democracy, we are more likely to vote for a party, but not vote for individual policies, we are given a package of policies. Sometimes represetatives have the power to select other represetatives or other officers who share the same interest.

The third difference is the overall participation. 5,000 out of the whole population 250,000 in Athens were accepted to be the citizenship, and regularly attend meetings of the assembly which holds every 10 days. Compare to nowadays system, each 4 years (sepends on the country) people have the choice to vote. The Athenian democracy still works on a much smaller system.

b) What are the advantages and disadvantages of each system?

Both Athenian democracy and representative democracy have their advantages and disadvantages.

One of the biggest advantage of the Athenian democracy is the general possibility for every free citizen gets input into the process without any special qualifications. Under the direct democacy, all citizens with political rights were able to express their ideal and opinions directly in the Assembly meetings. Undoubtedly it helped the citizens to have taken control over and be responsible to their own government but not blame to the authority.

However it limited the possibility of taking part in the Assembly for those people living outside the Athens due to the distance they would have to cover to vote. A futher disadvantage


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