Democracy's Roots

Going Back in Time to See The Future

This is Solon! (Credits to

Democracy’s Roots

Before Christ ancient Greece had developed in many ways. Democracy was introduced in B.C. Changing from other forms of government to Democracy wasn’t easy. Laws were updated, such as the one allowing the assembly to vote and expel a citizen from a city-state, but Democracy actually started growing after The Battle of Marathon. The Battle of Marathon was an attempt by the Persians to take over Greece. They attacked Athens, but Athenian warriors stood strong. Many different leaders helped to face those challenges. Two of these were Solon and Cleisthenes.

Solon and Cleisthenes were two of the first to light the torch of democracy. Solon, who ruled around 594 B.C, paved the way for democracy. During that time, Athens lacked leadership. The citizens of Athens had difficulties that aristocrats wouldn’t solve; but the damage and protest kept rising. The aristocrats elected a new magistrate as mediator to solve all problems and to not cause any more trouble. Solon’s first act was to unleash the debts of a thousand people. He created a law that demanded nobody was allowed to sell themselves as slaves. Thanks to Solon, the time when people were forced into a dept and had to sell themselves was over. It was also the first time both poor and rich men could work in the government, although women, slaves, and metics (foreign Athenians) could not join the government. Solon represented democracy, but sadly, as all leaders lose their throne, and so did Solon. The torch was dimmed after Solon left for 10 years. He waited to come back and see if his leadership had truly helped transform Athens into a democratic city, where the men could rule by themselves. Only after about 40 years did democracy rekindle. Cleisthenes continued to transform Athens into a democratic city by creating laws that strengthened democracy. He decided all citizens could be part of the assembly, and created 10 new groups (tribes) of Athenians, divided geographically. Cleisthenes created council of 500 men, 50 from each tribe, in which members could be chosen by lottery. Only free men over 30 could take part. Both of those leaders were extraordinary, taking a risk to start a new type of government. If it weren’t for Solon and Cleisthenes, the torch of democracy today would be dim or even extinguished.

This is Cleisthenes. (Credits to

Comment Stream