Politics For Novices

Athens become where the first

democratic practice emerged in history, a millennium earlier than some other occurrences.

Democracy in Athens lasted about 200 years, and turned into held as one of the exceptional

exercise in history. How had democracy managed to emerge in Athens? There are

many records of the workings of Athenian democracy, along with the governing

machine and the general public assemblies. On the opposite hand, the to be had statistics

on how Athenian democracy came to be is confined, because the democratic era turned into

preceded with the aid of the Dark Age of Greece, whilst little historical evidence is observed,

if not at all. But with the little information we’ve got, this became how the

Athenian democracy got here to be.

Around seven-hundred B.C, the populace of

Athens become divided intobusinesses – the farmers and the landowners. This become

pretty similar to feudalism, in which farmers paid their landowners with their

products. But soon, the subsistence (produced just enough for meals) farmers

have become not able to pay their debt the landowners. The debt bondage compelled the

farmers to emerge as possessions, or slaves, of the landowners. And as Aristotle

commented two hundred years later, “the numerous became the slaves of the few”.

At that time, Athens changed into ruled

by means of the noble households, rotating and sharing electricity among them. Three leaders,

the archons, were selected by their fellow nobles to manipulate the town. The archons

would serve ten years in workplace and then sit down on the Areopagus (the parliament)

for life. But the machine became replaced about one century later, when a prominent

citizen named Solon became requested with the aid of nobles to write down up the brand new governing gadget

for their town. Solon turned into not of any noble ancestry. However the nobles felt

that Athens had fallen at the back of other wealthier cities and wished a trade from

the stagnant rule of the nobles. Solon divided the citizens of Athens into 4

training – the wealthiest and the nobles (the pentacosiomedimni), two

lessons of people who very own big properties (the hippies and the zeugitae),

and in the end, the common citizens (the thetes). The first 3 lessons

had been allowed participation in the authorities, and the not unusual residents were

allowed to sit inside the citizens’ assembly, or ekklesia.

Every citizen of Athens become

allowed to sign up for the ekklesia, be they farmers, blacksmiths, or merchants. On

the day of the meeting, which was each ten days, the Athenians might pause in

their paintings and accumulate together in a enormous amphitheater, huge enough to include

thousands of residents. In the front of the clearing sat the Council of 500, a

group of citizen-elected leaders, even as have been additionally citizens themselves, who

oversaw town operations and led the ekklesia. Before the ekklesia

started, a sacrifice might be made to the gods, because the Greeks believed their

democratic technique to be a divine present. After that, the ekklesia started out. The

subjects of debate were organized ahead of time by the Council of 500. And

in the meeting, the members might specific their critiques thru discussions

and debates. All contributors could be allowed turns to speak their minds, and the

debates had been frequently very passionately. While the conservations on the whole remained

respectful, they may sometimes get rowdy and chaotic. Then, to discover the

resolution to the dialogue, all participants of the ekklesia could vote

either through hand-elevating or dropping pebbles into specified bins. The effects

might later be recorded inside the town information. The discussions would preserve

until all topics have been mentioned and resolutions observed, then the ekklesia

could finish and the residents back home to renew their lives.

The Ekklesia

The ekklesia became with out a

doubt the symbol of Athenian democracy, considering it represented almost each

perfect of the ideology. Freedom of speech and opinion turned into no longer simplest allowed, however

as an alternative endorsed most of the individuals. The participation was a good deal more opened

than other assemblies during the generation, as now not simplest the better-class ought to

take part, but the lower magnificence as properly. Wealth and social status mattered

little within the ekklesia. Furthermore, the ekklesia had possibly

the fairest vote casting method out of all democratic governments, even better

than the parliaments of today. The ban on political parties intended that the

electorate might surely appearance out for his and only his interests, without out of doors

stress from his peers or leaders. In end, the citizen assembly created

an honest and truthful environment in which every citizen had a voice and the power

to talk it, no matter their positions within the societies. Within the

meeting, they were all Athenians citizens seek to shield their rights and

pastimes. The ekklesia additionally united the human beings collectively, on the grounds that

they have been concerned in the town governance together, regardless of who they were, or

what job they held, and Athens turned into stronger for it.

But the ekklesia was no longer

simplest the indicator of the Athenian democracy, as Council of 500 also stood for

many democratic ideals. The Council of 500 become a collection of citizen-elected

leaders who controlled and oversaw the city operations (as said earlier than). City

operation protected infrastructure, sanitation, gala’s, and many others. The council

individuals also served as judges, juries, and civil/navy leaders. With such

energy of their arms, the Council of 500 turned into notably uncorrupted, Why?

Because they had been checked constantly! The council club lasted handiest one

year and the contributors’ performance have been evaluated directly through the humans after

the term’s quit. One citizen can also best serve two phrases at maximum on the

council. Both of this meant that the overly bold guys would not get their

arms on the seats of power.

Openness was honestly a key to the

powerful Athenian authorities. Public matters and selections have been mentioned in

public forums, not at the back of private doors unlike governments’ nowadays. Even in

trials, every citizen had the proper to face his accusers and be tried in

public. The idea of transparency made the Athenian authorities an awful lot more than

a group of leaders, however the opportunity for citizens to contain themselves in

the affairs in their city.

The most effective point towards the

Athenian democracy lied with the definition of the phrase “citizen”. Women and

slaves had been no longer registered as citizens, hence had little rights in Athens.

Universal suffrage (proper to vote) is the final step closer to a real democracy,

where participation is opened to all people in the society. Even in the device as

transparent and open as Athens, a main portion of human beings have been still excluded

from the political meetings and their voices went unheard. Without whole

illustration, democracy should by no means be entire. However, the Athenians nonetheless

had come in addition than maximum other civilizations would ever manipulate (with perhaps

the exception of the U.S), and growing a right mix between democracy and transparency

is a primary fulfillment even these days.

The Athenians believed democracy

to be a gift from heaven. And undoubtedly, they had made the best use of it.