The Evolution Of Athenian Democracy

1918 Words 8 Pages
The contemporary perspective of democracy is that all citizens should have the right to participate in elections and control the structure of the government and who holds office. For example, numerous people consider America undemocratic because Trump won the presidential election losing by two million votes, and that the voice of the people was not accurately represented because the final decision was put into the hands of the electoral voters. One of the earliest forms of democracy evolved in Athens, but does not reflect how democracy is viewed today. The progression of Athenian government from monarchy to democracy is described in the Athenian Constitution written by Aristotle. It is comprised of 63 parts divided into three sections. The …show more content…
Men of the Shore wanted a moderate government, men of the Plain wanted an oligarchy, and men of the Highlands wanted an “extreme democracy.” Pisistratus, a democrat, forcefully took office after ten years in exile and remained a tyrant until his death. Although he was a tyrant, Pisistratus was “humane and mild and ready to forgive” and gave money to poor people to help them with their farms. He taxed farms ten percent of their crops, so when people were not able to produce any crops they would not have to pay any taxes (Aristotle 16). In such a manner, farmers would never have to lose their land to the upper class because they could not afford to pay their taxes. Pisistratus could be viewed as a monarch because he was never elected by citizens and unwilling to abandon his seat of power, but to him, democracy was not about who was allowed to participate in government, but freedom from debt and the upper class. In an earlier part, Aristotle stated that serfdom bothered the Athenians the most. To Athenians freedom, was the right to leave their fields, to do whatever they wanted to do with their crops, and protection from slavery. Pisistratus was replaced by his sons Hippias and Hipparchus after ruling for 33 years. When Hipparchus was assassinated when was “arranging the procession” of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, Hippias became distrusted after expelling and killing “a large number of people” (Aristotle 18). Unlike Pisistratus, Hippias was not respected by the Athenians, and after seventeen years of rule was assassinated by the

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