Let’s take a vote: Are the Ancient Greeks impressive or what? Isn’t their organized government fascinating? Well, it’s definitely a unanimous vote in favor of the Greeks! By participating in that vote, you have just taken part of a Greek legacy. The government! One of Greece’s most beneficial contributions to the modern-world is our democratic system of government, which reached its peak in Athens during Pericles’ time. Greek’s government is a stable and unified form of government, whose connections are well spread.
It derives from the profound ideas of Greek political leaders such as Pericles. Their unique ideas are extremely strong, and are like flames, as they catch on very easily. Many nations have used some of its central ideas while developing their governments and a great example is the United States of America. Ancient Greek democracy had a deep influence on the design of political institutions in the United States. Many ideas from Ancient Greece pertaining to how they set up their government and legislation had inspired some of our ancestors significantly.
The founding generation of the United States saw ancient Athens as both, an inspirational model and also as an example of dangerous excess. They also led to the government we currently have established. Hence, the Greeks’ contribution to our government can be reflected in our daily lives in various ways. Ancient Greeks’ Influence Governmental policies were strongly influenced by Ancient Greece’s ideas, which helped build a fundamental foundation for our country with innovative ideas that were progressive for their time.
The Greeks were the first known civilization to have made a working form of democratic rule, although it lasted for a relatively short time; until the traditional monarch rule preponderated once more. The Greeks’ form of government elped establish equality within the country, and aimed for the common prosperity of its citizens similar to the objectives of America today. Last but not least, the Greeks also galvanized the idea of representatives within the democracy, which inspired the establishment of the democratic-republican government we currently have implemented.
Types of Democracy Ancient democracy developed in Athens right after the ameliorating Solon in 594 B. C. However, it was a system of direct democracy, unlike the representative democracy, we have today. According to Yale University, it means that, “every adult, ho was a male Athenian citizen, had the right to participate in deliberations and voting in the law-making assembly and other governing institutions. ” On the other hand, representative democracy is a system where citizens vote for representatives to symbolize their viewpoints, beliefs, and ideas, rather than offering input directly.
Nonetheless, democracy is viewed as an immortal form of government that is sure to thrive for generations to come even today. The collapse of ancient Athenian democracy occurred in 338 B. C. and the democratic institutions revived in the early 19th century. During that time eriod, Ancient Encyclopedia feels that “democracy was a highly critical term signifying a chaotic, anarchic system in which political power was in the hands of the rabble. ” Evolution of Greek Democracy Although some American leaders disagreed with his viewpoints, Thomas Paine stood out as a supporter of preserving ancient democracy.
Paine was standing strong with an intense determination, as he even portrayed the United States as a descendant of Ancient Greece, who would expand upon the deeply rooted base of direct democracy. Evidence of his extensive campaigning is apparent when Paine wrote in The Rights of Man that “We see more to admire and less to condemn, in that great, extraordinary people, than in anything which history affords”. For Paine, the principle of representation through elected candidates was a means of augmenting, because it was the route to perfecting democracy rather than relinquishing it.
Paine’s powerful, yet peaceful words, urged Americans to think “outside the box for themselves”, so they could be within the democratic as well as republican tradition, symbolizing the faithful embracement of representative democracy within our country. America’s Modern Democracy Paying closing heed to Paine’s words, America established a representative democracy. However, there are quite a few differences between America’s and Greece’s democracy. Three key differences in particular are pertaining to scale, participation and eligibility. First is scale.
There were no proper population censuses in ancient Athens, but an educated guess from History. com, puts “the total population of fifth-century Athens, at around 250,000 – men, women and children, free and bound, enfranchised and disenfranchised. ” It also states that, “of those 250,000 some 30,000 on average were fully paid-up citizens – he adult males of Athenian birth and full status. Of those 30,000 perhaps 5,000 might regularly attend one or more meetings of the popular Assembly, of which there were at least 40 a year in Aristotle’s day.
Approximately 6,000 citizens were selected to be potential jurymen who would staff the popular jury courts and make up the annual panel. With similar approaches to the subject, our Founding Fathers only allowed men to vote and have legal representation at first. However, after some time elapsed, the idea was seen from another light, and was reassessed. Thereafter, men and women were given qual legal representation. Derived for Same Cause As Pericles once said at a funeral in 404 BC, “Athens’ constitution is called a democracy because it respects the interests not of the minority but of the whole people.
When it is a question of settling private disputes, everyone is equal before the law; when it is a question of putting one person before another in positions of public responsibility, what counts is not membership of a particular class, but the actual ability which the man possesses. ” Many malevolent aristocrats ruled a brutal oligarchical rule, which caused the Greeks want to create a fundamental overnment where the torch of power was in the hands of the citizens, who were given the dominating authority to decide upon how the state was run.
Similarly, after being tyrannized by the rule of a monarch, the Americans, who had recently obtained political independence, strived for a similar governmental structure. However, some viewpoints differed, but it is still evident when looking at the U. S. Constitution that the Founding Fathers were inspired, by the unique ideas of ancient Athens. Similarities in Legal Systems In ancient Athens, legislation was created and enacted by the Assembly, which was made up of every citizen who wanted to attend.
Anyone who was a legal citizen had the right to speak at an assembly meeting. However, responsibilities such as issuing preliminary decrees and setting agendas for assembly meetings were given to a full-time council made of 500 representatives. The U. S. Congress takes the role of the Assembly and Council of 500 did in ancient Athens, as they propose and vote on legislation in a similar way, although made up of a much smaller body of elected representatives than the Assembly. Furthermore, it is believed by Documents of Freedom states, “As arly as 350 B. C. Greek philosopher Aristotle observed in the Politics that every government, no matter its form, performed three distinct functions: “the deliberative, the magisterial, and the judicative”.
“Although this intense terminology has been modified, a correlation of ideas is present in today’s legislative, executive, and judicial branches. It supports the common belief of modern and ancient times of how the decision of handing all power in the hands of one person can lead to a destruction of liberty. In other words, it was the foundation for the concept of checks and balances.
In conclusion, the Greeks have been the foundation of our nation in a variety of ways, whose progressive ideas have influenced the founding generation. They have granted our nation with sophisticated and precious knowledge pertaining to the governmental structure we currently have implemented, preserving the integrity of the ancient democracy. Their experiences offered new insights on types of democracy, and led the citizens to acknowledge representative democracy as a perfect fit for America. Just imagine how meaningful the Greeks are for us! They have presented us with a priceless legacy that is sure to be remembered for years to come!