Athens vs. Rome

Topics: Roman Empire, Ancient Rome, Roman Senate Pages: 2 (524 words) Published: February 3, 2013
DBQ Essay
Citizenship in Athens and Rome: Which is the better system?

Citizenship in Athens and Rome

Today, we take for granted our citizenship in the United States. As long as we were born here, we're a citizen. It wasn't always like this in the world. Athens and Rome both had certain systems of citizenship they followed. It wasn't nearly as easy as it is today. A big question, though, is which system was the best. I believe that both Athens and Rome had their strengths and weaknesses in their systems. As to which I think is better, I can't choose. The Roman Republic was more tolerant of whom they allowed to be citizens, but that's not always a good thing. Athens had a better way of election, but was random. Both had good ideas about the judgment of citizens, but in both someone could take advantage of their power.

The Roman Republic was more generous in granting citizenship than Athens. They allowed free, native-born adult males, as long as their parents were married in certain areas of the Roman Empire. They allowed free, native-born adult females, but with limited rights. Both female and male children were considered citizens as long as their parents were citizens. Also sons of freed slaves could access citizenship. The only ones that were granted citizenship in Athens were free, native-born adult males. Rome's system was more equal, but in the end could cause problems with conflicts between everyone, trying to get what they want.

Apart from who they allowed to be citizens, their ways of election were also different. In Athens, they had election by lottery meaning that every person had an equal chance. This was fairer than Rome's inheritance of their position in the Senate, but it was completely random, and the most ineligible person could be chosen. In order to make important decisions like laws or ostracisms, there needed to be a minimum of six thousand. Rome only needed three hundred to form the senate.

Another thing was their...
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