Democracy: From The Ancient Greece to the USA

599 words | 2 page(s)

The present day democratic governments owe a lot to the democratic practices of the ancient Greeks. The Greeks early attempt to ensure the government was equally run by the people served as a role model for several democratic government that followed it. Despite the fact there are several major difference between the Ancient Greek Democracy and the modern democracy, there still exists several aspects of democracy that look familiar.

The ancient Greeks had always wanted to establish a government where all the people would directly contribute to its operations. They never wanted the oligarchical rule that included some aristocrats who had oppressed. Similarly, the newly created state of America sought to eliminate the tyrannical rule of monarchies that had oppressed them even though in a slight different from that of the ancient Greeks. The democratic doctrines of the ancient Greeks inspired the creation of the U.S constitution by the Founding Fathers. However, the ancient Greek governments and that of the United States have some basic differences. Ancient Greeks represent an extreme scenario where direct democracy was practiced on every citizen. All the citizens were allowed to vote on almost regarding the various decisions that were made by the government. On the other hand, the United States is a republic where its people have the right to elect legislatures who are entitled with the responsibility of formulating laws and governing.

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In the ancient Greek democratic, the process of establishing legislation was done by the Assembly that comprised every citizen who was willing to attend. In a year, the Assembly met 40 times. Eligible citizens who attended the Assembly was between 20000 and 60000. In most cases, the number that attended was approximately 6000. All the people who attended the Assembly were allowed to contribute in the assembly meetings. In the modern US democracy, laws are made and passed by the Congress which comprises members elected from different states across the US. They sit at the Capitol Hill. The Congress is made up of the senate, which is the upper house, and the house of representative, which is the lower house. The Congress has a total of 535 voting members, 100 Senators and 435 Representatives.

The trials of the Ancient Greek were heard in a random manner by a jury that was selected and comprised an approximately between 200 and 6000 people. Those who were expected to be jurors were to volunteer themselves to perform the duty at the start of each year. They were put together in a pool of jurors and randomly assigned a case to handle every day after attending to handle the service. Lay magistrates presided over the cases. They were also selected by lot. The lot did not make any decisions concerning the cases, the testimony, or the juries since they lacked a formal form of any training that could have helped them to be part of the judicial team. The modern US judicial system comprises of courts that have a smaller number of juries, usually six. The process of delivering judgment and making decisions is more regulated and handled by powerful judges with extensive knowledge in law. However, the fundamental idea of ensuring a fair trial on both juries is similar.

The modern U.S and the ancient Greeks also share exhibit similar prejudices and inadequacies in the process of creating democracy. Democracy in the ancient Greek only males of Athenian origin were regarded to the real citizens. Women, slaves, and other individuals whose parents were foreign were limited in the participation in the government. The modern US constitution recognizes rights for all the American citizens regardless of race, gender, and socioeconomic background.

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