Athens vs Socrates

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Athenian democracy ensures that a citizen in a society acts according to what society deems appropriate rather than by an individual's assumptions of what is acceptable. Athens as a whole stresses the importance of an active citizen whose life is intertwined with the government. In essence, an Athenian citizen can participate in the decision making of the state and will be enthusiastic in carrying out policies that pass in the assembly. Pericles, an Athenian statesman, makes it clear when he says that "each individual is interested not only in his own affairs but in the affairs of the state as well" (p.147 Thucydides). Socrates, a Greek philosopher, is a firm believer in examining one's actions in life and ensuring that a morally righteous life is being led. He argues that the ordinary Athenian citizen is not concerned with being a righteous person, but rather with maintaining society in order. This does not leave room for an individual to behave according to his own conscience in order to promote a feeling of moral well- being.

The Athenians designed a new system of government called democracy. Every Athenian citizen can speak and vote in assemblies in order to determine how the state will be ran. In this manner, an Athenian can voice his opinion on forming and modifying the policies that will affect him at home. The right to make a public speech at assemblies is given to every citizen in an attempt to encourage debate among the issues. This debate ensures that the citizens are well informed and have given careful thought to the consequences of their vote, since the majority of the group gets to have its way on the outcome of a specific policy. Thus, Athens has developed a system which allows its citizens to determine how life should be led.

Athenians, as a whole, are very proud of their accomplishments and place a great deal of importance in being a good citizen. Citizens are expected to be engaged at some level in public affairs, be it as a member of a...
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