Essay on What are the Unique Traits of Athenian Democracy?

894 Words Nov 7th, 2013 4 Pages
29 September 2013
What are the Unique Traits of Athenian Democracy?

There are several traits that make Athenian democracy unique not only in the ancient world but also in the modern world as well. For the first time in recorded history, citizens had a say in what laws were to govern them . Democracy was an unknown and alien concept in the ancient world, and Athenians knew that their political process was different in and they were intensely proud of it. “Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. We do not copy our neighbours, but are an example to them” (funeral speech.37). The concept of the citizen, the allotment (lottery)system of choosing members of government administration and courts,
…show more content…
A direct democracy is a democracy in which every citizen has a direct vote unlike our modern democracy which uses representatives to speak for us. Athens was small enough to have all of its citizens directly cast votes on every motion, and they had the right to bring motions forward and submit laws. It was confident that every citizen, regardless of wealth or social status, had the intelligence to make sound decisions, and only together as a group, could the right consensus be reached. “we are all judges sound judges of policy” (Funeral speech pg. 3. 37). Every citizen was as involved in politics as he was in his own family because according to Athenians, the only way to live the good life was to be involved in the polis “ An Athenian citizen does not neglect the state because he takes care of his household’ (funeral speech pg. 3 40). This sentiment is central to the Athenian world view and why Athens was successful as a direct democracy for so long.

The Athenian democracy model was the world’s first real test of the concept of democracy.
The Athenian system was not perfect and was certainly flawed in some respects, but many of ideals Athenians held in high regard are noble expressions and are still relevant in today’s modern world. “The rule of the many’” (lecture) was to be the seed that great thinkers took and evolved into the system of government we have today,

Related Documents