Essay on Pericles Athens 's System Of Government

1367 Words Sep 29th, 2016 6 Pages
Throughout human history millions of people have died for their countries, leaving loved ones and fellow citizens to question whether this ultimate sacrifice was warranted. The number of deaths resulting from war is immense, and often results in a collective examining of the governments for which these individuals perished. This contemplation can range from the quality of life a state affords its people to the ideals on which it was founded. After the first year of the Peloponnesian War, Pericles attempts to alleviate these concerns when eulogizing the dead. Similarly, after the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln speaks of the government for which the soldiers died. Both Lincoln and Pericles attempt to elevate the state to a level worthy of the ultimate sacrifice. However, their methods differ. Lincoln emphasizes the founding principles of the United States, while Pericles focuses on Athens itself and its edifice of government.
Near the beginning of his address, after he exalts previous generations, Pericles praises Athens’s system of government. He first ponders what conditions led to Athens’s greatness, considering training, its citizens’ “natural bent,” and its “frame of government.” Following this query, he argues that “our political arrangement cannot be measured in contest with any other city’s.” By first answering with a statement of Athens’s policies’ astuteness, Pericles reveals his respect for the city-state’s political framework. After this assertion, he…

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