Importance Of Athenian Democracy

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The Athenian people have experienced numerous forms of government ranging from a constitutional oligarchy, monarchy to democracy over the course of their history. They transitioned from lowly slaves and serfs who were born into their casts, to a free people elected into office. In the best of times, they were given land and stature while in the worst, vengeance, banishment and war. The Athenian embracement of democracy over monarchy can be attributed to the tyranny experienced under the rule of Pisistratus. The initial constitutional oligarchy was run by a small number of affluent upper class while the lower classes worked the land to pay their debts. If the debts were not paid they were then forced into a life of slavery by laws created and …show more content…
This constant argument led Solon to retire and Pisistratus, considered an extreme democrat and military leader, to assume the lead in government through force unlike Draco and Solon who were elected by The Council of Areopagus. Even though Pisistratus had come to power by force, he ruled leniently as “ . . . the tyranny of Pisistratus was often spoken of proverbially as ‘the age of gold’; for when his sons succeeded him the government became much harsher.” (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E.) Although he may have committed murder and intimidated the prosecutor on his trial, Pisistratus managed to make both, the upper and lower classes happy through his personality and …show more content…
When the question of forming a new monarchy as the preferred form of government was presented, Otanes states, “How can monarchy be a fit thing, when the ruler can do what he wants with impunity? Give this power to the best man on earth, and it would stir him to unaccustomed thoughts” (as cited in Herodotus, 3.80). This is a fairly accurate summary of Pisistratus’ rule. He did help the poor, but his lineage was brutal and maintained power through force and

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