Democracy in Ancient Greece

Pages: 1 (403 words) Published: April 18, 2006
Ancient Greece is given credit for inventing democracy. Many of today's democratic practices began in ancient Athens. Athenian men discussed public issues and passed laws as members of the assembly. They elected officials by secret ballot and served on public committees and juries. Today we have many examples of democratic governments. Most are some form of indirect democracy. The United States is an indirect democracy with presidential leadership. We elect our President and representatives to help govern the country and make laws to protect our interests. In Thucydides, On Justice, Power and Human Nature, Pericles talks about how humans are naturally free and generous. However, Pericles fails to consider the underlying reasons for this, people are not free and generous naturally, but because they fear punishment for wrongdoing. If there were no laws, society would be uncivilized and in a chaotic state of anarchy. In Thucydides, On Justice, Power and Human Nature, Pericles was asked to give the official funeral oration for the Athenian soldiers who had died at one of the opening battles of the Peloponnesian War. In his speech he not only praised the dead, but Athens itself, in this speech he preserves the highest ideals of democracy. He praises his city's freedom. He also discusses that it was Athens oppressive rule that would eventually lead to its downfall in the Peloponnesian War. Pericles writes, our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. Our government does not copy our neighbors, it is an example to them. We are called a democracy because our administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. There exists equal justice to all and alike in their private disputes. Poverty is not an obstacle, but a man may benefit his country whatever the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public life, and in our private business we are not suspicious of one another, nor are we angry with our...
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