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Tacitus Dialogue Essay

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Tacitus: Hello, friends. I am Tacitus of Argos. Agathon: And I am Agathon. Wow, Argos? I’ve heard that you guys have been struggling lately with your king being crazy and all. So how is it going anyway? Tacitus: It’s not good. In fact it’s terrible! The king has been raising taxes and taking the money for himself. His greediness is what makes it so important for me to come here and hear about your government. It’s about time someone started looking out for us, for once! But I’ll stop my complaining. I came here to learn about Athens. Davos: And learn you shall! I’m Davos, nice to meat you. What brings you to the best city-state in Greece? Oh! Who am I kidding? Who wouldn’t want to come to our amazing city? Tacitus: Well, I’m glad I’ve…show more content…
Agathon: Yeah, you see, our government is going to change the world. We call it a direct democracy. Davos: Get it? Because Demos means “the people.” Tacitus: Yah, I get it….So, what is a direct democracy? And why is it so good, anyway? Davos: Here, every citizen has the power to make decisions to better our city-state by directly influencing our decisions. This makes our Athens the most successful and powerful around, as opposed to your society, where the people are under the rule of king, who controls everyone like puppets. And you can see how that’s turned out… Agathon: Let your society be an example: kings only care about themselves. The people are best ruled by the people! After all, we do know what’s best for us. Tacitus: That is a good point, but how do you keep order in the city if everyone can have a say? Agathon: Well not everyone. Women, slaves, and free foreigners like yourself aren’t allowed to attend our assembly meetings. It is, however, the civic duty of every free male citizen to attend these assemblies once they turn 18. Tacitus: An assembly full of Athenian men arguing about politics? That sounds like…show more content…
During assemblies, a designated orator directs the conversation in order to maintain a civilized discussion. Tacitus: Ok, so you really have thought of it all, but there's one thing I still want to know: how does the assembly agree on a decision? You can’t even decide if you’re allies or enemies with Sparta! Agathon: Hey! Let's leave the Sparta out of this. Anyway, in order to come to a final decision, a vote must take place. Tacitus: A “vote”? Interesting… So how exactly would a citizen “vote”? Davos: Usually, citizens who show up to the assembly can vote by putting a colored rock into a pot. White corresponds with yes, while the black means no, creating a private voting environment. After everyone has voted, the different colors of rocks are counted, the results are tallied, and the final decision is announced. Tacitus: OK, I think I understand this whole “democracy” thing now. It sure seems better that having a king! Why shouldn’t I get a say in the fate of my city-state? Agathon: You should! And hopefully soon, you will. Tacitus: It’s settled then: I’ll leave for Argos by sunrise tomorrow with good word about democracy for my people. Farewell,
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