Changes in Democracy: from Early Athenian to Present Day Politics

1900 WordsMay 28, 20058 Pages
Democracy: From Early Athenian To Present Day Politics. When following current events we can't help but witness politicians use terms such as "defending freedom", "liberty", or "democracy", but one is simply left wondering if the general public, or even the politicians themselves, know what those terms really mean or where they come from. The reality is that most don't. The ideals of living in a democracy have been drastically changed from their original meanings and diluted into persuasive political language to become mere rhetoric as opposed to meaningful concepts of ethical and moral value. The word democracy is thrown around to make convincing, patriotic speeches that many times are utilized to usurp the rights and property of…show more content…
This group had the largest gradation of social and economic differences, a combination of those who were rising to prosperity as well as those barely able to stay above the lowest class. Though upward mobility was not impossible, it was not easy. One could become wealthy enough to marry into nobility. Downward mobility was much more common as those in the middle class could easily slip into debt and therefore into the lowest class. Even though these groups were clearly visible in Greek society all enjoyed citizenship. Unfortunately that did not mean equality in this earlier period. "Citizenship, which the later Greeks defined as ‘having a share in the public life of the polis,' was perceived as a graded status, fixed at a person's social and economic condition as well as to gender. While female citizens had important roles in the religious worship of the community, they were completely barred from participation in political, judicial, and military affairs. These were exclusively the domain of adult (over age 18) male citizens. Among the men, the share of civic responsibilities and rights – to vote and speak in the assembly, hold office, serve as judges, fight in the army – was divided unequally along mainly economic lines. In the early city-states, as we have seen, only the rich and wellborn possessed the full range of citizen privileges. Non-noble citizens of moderate means were barred from holding office, and the poorest citizens had no vote
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