Mobile democracy essays on society self and politics

In a public suit the litigants each had three hours to speak, much less in private suits though here it was in proportion to the amount of money at stake. The Council whose numbers varied at different times from three hundred to seven hundred and fifty was appointed by lot.

Only the first to arrive were admitted and paid, with the red rope now used to keep latecomers at bay. However, " Macaulay and John Stuart Mill and George Grote saw the great strength of the Athenian democracy in the high level of cultivation that citizens enjoyed and called for improvements in the educational system of Britain that would make possible a shared civic consciousness parallel to that achieved by the ancient Athenians.

Originally, a male would be a citizen if his father was a citizen, Under Periclesin BC, restrictions were tightened so that a citizen had to be born to an Athenian father and an Athenian mother.

To give a schematic scenario by way of illustration: Both of these processes were in most cases brief and formulaic, but they opened up in the possibility, if some citizen wanted to take some matter up, of a contest before a jury court.

No office appointed by lot could be held twice by the same individual. For much of the 5th century at least democracy fed off an empire of subject states.

Athenian democracy

Modern critics are more likely to find fault with the narrow definition of the citizen body, but in the ancient world the complaint, if anything, went in the opposite direction.

Unlike officeholders, the citizen initiator was not voted before taking up office or automatically reviewed after stepping down — it had after all no set tenure and might be an action lasting only a moment. There also seems to have been a type of citizen assembly, presumably of the hoplite class.

One downside was that the new democracy was less capable of rapid response. Under this, anything passed by the assembly or even proposed but not yet voted on, could be put on hold for review before a jury — which might annul it and perhaps punish the proposer as well.

To its ancient detractors rule by the demos was also reckless and arbitrary. Those who are superior in virtue should receive greater shares in rule. Socrates happened to be the citizen presiding over the assembly that day and refused to cooperate though to little effect and stood against the idea that it was outrageous for the people to be unable to do whatever they wanted.

This sort of aristocratic takeover "was ended by the appeal by one contender, Cleisthenesfor the support of the populace. The boule coordinated the activities of the various boards and magistrates that carried out the administrative functions of Athens and provided from its own membership randomly selected boards of ten responsible for areas ranging from naval affairs to religious observances.

No judges presided over the courts nor did anyone give legal direction to the jurors; magistrates had only an administrative function and were laymen.

If the assembly broke the law, the only thing that might happen is that it would punish those who had made the proposal that it had agreed to. It was superseded in importance by the Areopaguswhich, recruited from the elected archons, had an aristocratic character and was entrusted with wide powers.

This promoted a new enthusiasm for assembly meetings. Josiah Ober notes that "Thucydides cites examples of two errors regarding Sparta: Another group, on the other hand, considers that, since many Athenians were not allowed to participate in its government, Athenian democracy was not a democracy at all.

Four presided over the judicial administration. Much of his writings were about his alternatives to democracy. In the 5th century version of the democracy, the ten annually elected generals were often very prominent, but for those who had power, it lay primarily in their frequent speeches and in the respect accorded them in the assembly, rather than their vested powers.

Furthermore, all citizens selected were reviewed before taking up office dokimasia at which they might be disqualified.

The oligarchy endured for only four months before it was replaced by a more democratic government. One reason that financial officials were elected was that any money embezzled could be recovered from their estates; election in general strongly favoured the rich, but in this case wealth was virtually a prerequisite.

In this case, simply by demographic necessity, an individual could serve twice in a lifetime. And they too could be removed from office at any time that the assembly met.

From a modern perspective these figures may seem small, but among Greek city-states Athens was huge: Combined with the institution of slavery, this allowed for massive economic inequality in the society which meant the polis would be dominated by wealthy aristocrats.The central events of the Athenian democracy were the meetings of the assembly (ἐκκλησία, ekklesía).Unlike a parliament, the assembly's members were not elected, but attended by right when they democracy created at Athens was direct, rather than representative: any adult male citizen over the age of 20 could take part, and it.

Democracy in America and Two Essays on America (Penguin Classics) [Alexis de Tocqueville, Isaac Kramnick, Gerald Bevan] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A contemporary study of the early American nation and its evolving democracy, from a French aristocrat and sociologist In Alexis de Tocqueville.

Mobile democracy essays on society self and politics
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