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Origins of Democracy

Greece and Rome
by

Samantha Millhollen

on 30 August 2013

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Transcript of Origins of Democracy

Origins of Democracy: The Basics
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Greece
Around 2000 B.C.E. Greeks established cities along the coast of Greece.
They established city-states and EACH had their own form of
government
(Remember: their way of controlling society!)
They had many styles of government. Some city-states used a
monarchy
or an
aristocracy
.
Monarchy
= A single person rules
Aristocracy
= A government ruled by a small group of noble, land-owning families
Rome
600 B.C.E. A series of kings ruled Rome. 509 B.C.E. A group of Roman
aristocrats
overthrew a king who did not treat the people well.
What is an
aristocrat
? A person who is part of a privileged class holding hereditary titles.
This group of aristocrats in Rome decided to set up a NEW government and called it a
REPUBLIC
.
A republic gives citizens the right to elect the leaders who make government decisions.
Religious Influence on
Democratic Ideals
"Everyone has the right to take part in
the government of his (or her) country."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
United Nations, 1948
What does the word
government
mean?
Small groups of people did not usually need a formal system.
For example, a small group of elders would work together.
Large groups of people usually lived under one ruler.
Examples: kings, pharaohs, chieftains
Throughout history people have understood the need for government to establish authority and provide organization in a society.
Athens
Athens was the largest and most powerful city-state.
They developed the first direct democracy. (Democracy = rule by the people)
Citizens
participated in government and in decision making.
Athenians were their government.
Citizens
= Adult, male residents who owned land.
Government in Athens
Democracy At Risk...

From 490 - 479 B.C.E. the Greeks fought the Persians who were trying to conquer Greece.
In Athens they held public debates about how to defend the city.
They also voted do decide if they would surrender or fight for their freedom.

Egypt: Ruled by pharaohs. They were considered to be God on earth. They held all of the power and could not be challenged. The people of Egypt were not supposed to look the pharaoh in the eye.

Mesopotamia: Ruled by a king. The king was chosen by God.

Persia: Ruled by a king. The king decided what was law and the people had no rights. Everyone approached the king crawling and kissed his toe.
They didn't want authoritarian rulers and developed direct democracy. They had three branches of government.
Council
: It was made up of 500 citizens who were chosen at random. They made proposals and the assembly voted on them.
Assembly
: These were the citizens of Athens. They met a few times every month and were paid to attend. The first 6,000 could participate.
Jury
: There were 600 jurors for each of the 10 tribes in Athens. (6000 total) They would hear both sides of the case and then vote to determine guilt.
Rome had two social classes, the patricians and the plebeians. The patricians were the noble class and the plebeians were the working class.
At the head of the Roman republic were two consuls. They were chosen by members of the senate. The senate was comprised of 300 patricians. The consuls ran the republic with the help of the senate.
The plebeians were upset that they were not more involved in government. They could vote, but had not other involvement. They went on strike until they were included in the government.
The patricians agreed and a council of plebs was created.
How Was the Republic Organized?
Judicial Branch
There was also a group of judges called the praetors. There job was to interpret the law.
All citizens had equal protection under the law and they were innocent until proven guilty.
The citizens of Rome disliked the fact that laws were not written down. 450 B.C.E. the Twelve Tables were written. From that point forward all Roman laws were written down.
528 C.E. Emperor Justinian ordered the compilation of ALL Roman laws. This became a guide on legal matters throughout western Europe.
Government =
A system for
controlling
a society
Judaism:
We should live moral lives.
Every person has a "spark" or "dignity" that can never be taken away.
They have a written code of laws, the Ten Commandments, which focus on morality and ethics.
They believe every person has the responsibility to oppose injustice and oppression.
The community should assist the unfortunate.
Christianity:
Jesus stressed that we should love God, our neighbors, our enemies, and ourselves. Every person has value.
Islam:
All people are equal and should be treated with dignity. We should take care of our community and be tolerant of people who think differently than we do.
Full transcript