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Democracy (Peoples Power)

-What is it?
-Where did it begin?
-How did it developed?
-Who was involved?
-Why is it important?
What is Government?
Government: a system for controlling
Throughout history people have
recognized the need for a system to
organize society
For much of history, people lived under the
rule of kings or rulers with absolute power
Opposite of democracy
First democracies=GREECE & ROME
Changing Governments
Greek city-states tried various forms of government
monarchy: one person (king/monarch) rules govt
aristocracy: govt ruled by small group of noble,
land-owning families
oligarchy: govt ruled by a few, powerful people
(wealthy merchants, nobility, etc.)
democracy: rule of the people
Demos = people
Kratos = power
Athenian Democracy
Athens becomes largest & most powerful city-state
Citizens = adult males
Citizens participate in decision making
Economic problems & debt (600 B.C.)
Poor farmers pledge their crops, land, then themselves
(indentured servants/slaves) to wealthy landowners
Solon (638 B.C.-558 B.C.)
Outlawed indentured slavery & cancelled
farmers debts.
Established 4 classes of citizenship based
on wealth, not heredity (born into)
more rights & opportunities
only top 3 classes were eligible to hold
office but citizens could vote
Created Council of 400 & these reforms:
increased participation in
made laws more fair
created beneficial economic
reforms (trade)
1 of the 7 Wise Men of Citizens = all free adult males.
Greece only 1/10 of population were citizens
women, slaves (1/3 of population), &
foreigners were excluded
Cleisthenes (570 B.C.-507 B.C.)
Expanded the Council of 400
to 500 members
chosen randomly
Broke up the power of the
poor citizens had more
Tried to balance rich & poor
Citizens were allowed to
submit laws to govt
Only 1/5 of population were
Pericles (495 B.C. 429 B.C.)
Greeks fight Persian invaders trying to
conquer Greece (490-479)
Democracy survives
paid jurors & increased the number
of paid public officials
this allowed poor citizens to
participate in government
citizens rule directly & make
laws (no representatives)
he was very proud of Athens
Why Remember Greek Democracy?
Believed citizens should have a say in govt
public debate
making laws
serving on juries
holding office
The Greeks had established a direct democracy and
three branches of government:
legislative to make laws
executive to carry out laws
judicial to interpret laws in dispute
Democracy Crumbles
Civil war breaks out in Greece
Athens vs. Sparta
(Peloponnesian War), then
Macedonia conquers
Alexander the Great
Democracy does not die
3 incredible Greek
philosophers continue
democratic ideas
to investigate the nature of
the universe, human society,
and morality
Socrates (469 B.C. 399 B.C.)
QUESTION your beliefs (analyze)
Why do you believe what you
Socratic Method
question-and-answer approach to
understand beliefs & learn
went against superstition and
illogical beliefs
The universe was created and operates
in an orderly way, not based on the
whims of gods
question everything including
Charged with treason to the gods &
executed (hemlock)
Plato (428 B.C.-348 B.C.)
Socrates student, wrote The
Main ideas:
wisest person, should rule (not
the richest or strongest)
He didnt think average people
were capable of governing
Thought a ruler became a danger
to the people when the ruler has
too much freedom
Creates the Academy
lasts nearly 900 years
Elite, not open to public
Aristotle (384 B.C. 322 B.C.)
Platos student
Middle Class!!!
people are political by nature
they must live in a state with a
structured government
Main ideas
leaders act selfishly and against the
best interest of the people
The government must follow the
Started the Lyceum
School to encourage thorough study
in many fields
Mostly free & open to public
Democracy moves west to Rome
Roman Democracy
Rome ruled by kings,
overthrown 509 B.C.,
establish a republic
Republic =
indirect democracy =
government !!!!!
citizens elect
to make government
Most modern
democracies are
Citizens = free-born adult
males only
Just like Greece, women
& slaves not allowed to
Who had the Power?
Two classes
patricians = aristocrats (landowners), inherited power
plebeians = working class (farmers, merchants, artisans)
Citizens who had the right to vote, banned from most
powerful govt positions
fought over their power in government, gained more
2 branches of govt
executive -2 consuls
legislative the SENATE (patricians)
In time of crisis, dictator allowed 6-month term
Roman Written Law
When laws were not
written down, patricians
often interpreted laws
in whatever ways suited
Plebians demanded that
laws be written down
Importance: all free
citizens had the right to
protection of law &
Fundamental Roman Laws
Laws apply equally to all citizens
A person is considered innocent until
proven guilty
The burden of proof rests with the accuser
A person is punished only for actions, not
for thoughts
Unreasonable or unfair laws can be set
Does any of this sound familiar?
Why remember the Roman Republic?
Laws apply equally to
Written law
indirect democracy