Essay on Athenian definition of democracy

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Discuss the Athenian definition of democracy. Is the city state the only kind of state in which true democracy can exist? What happens to democracy when it is applied to a society with a large dispersed population? What are other examples of democratic societies besides Athens? Compare and contrast Athenian democracy with American democracy. Is the United States a democracy in the classical sense of the word?

     The ancient Greek word "demokratia" was ambiguous. It met literally "people power". But who were the people to whom the power of the long? Was it all the people -all duly qualified citizens? Or only some of the people -- the masses? The Greek word demos could mean either. There is a
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The Athenian oligarchs found it impossible to maintain themselves in power, after just a year democracy was restored. The restored Athenian democracy flourished stably and effectively for another 80 years. Finally, in 322, the kingdom of Macedon terminated one of the most successful experiments ever in citizen self-government.
     The architects of the first democracies of the modern era in the United States claimed a line of descent from classical Greek demokratia - "government of the people by the people" as Abraham Lincoln put it. There are 3 major differences in the Greek's system of democracy and in the United States; scale, participation, and eligibility.
     In reference to the scale there were no proper population censuses in ancient Athens, the most accurate guess today puts the total population of 4th century Athens at around 250,000, this includes men, women and children, the free and unfree, and enfranchised and disenfranchised. Of the 250,000 about 30,000 were fully paid citizens - the adult males of Athenian birth and full status. Of the 30,000 about 5000 might regularly attend one or more meetings of the popular assembly, of which there were at least 40 a year and Aristotle's day. 6000 citizens were selected to fill the annual panel of potential jurymen who would staff the popular jury courts (a typical size of the jury was 501).
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