Before Athens had discovered democracy, there was monarchy. The Greek word, monarchy, means "ruled by one". Monarchy did not last long and oligarchy took its place. Oligarchy, "ruled by few", existed in the 600s and 500s BC. Soon tyranny began. Tyranny was when one person took over and led the government in his own ways and only his. But this did not last long, either. Then came a new way of government that lasted through the centuries: democracy.
|Democracy comes from the Greek word, demokratia, which means, "power by the people". Democracy emerged in Athens during the 500s and 400s BC. The purpose of democracy was to assure the middle class, that they had a voice in the government. The middle class people were the backbone of the army and the city of Athens did not want to lose their army in case of war. Democracy also benefited the poorer of Athens by giving them representation, because they made up the navy oarsmen, and Athens could not afford to lose them in case of an attack.|
The citizens assembly contained 30,000 to 40,000 male citizens (the women had no rights). They met around forty times a year. In their meetings, they would debate on important issues and vote. They also changed the law, once in a while, to fit their needs. The 500 people in the Council prepared the Assembly's schedule.
Democracy is used in many countries and many people benefit from it as they did in ancient Greece. We should be thankful for the democratic government the ancient Greeks have given us. Democracy has changed our lives through the centuries. Without it we could be forced to do things against our wills. Think about it.