Ancient Democracy - Athens: Citizenship and Governance "Selection and representation in Athenian Democracy"

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Without a question, Athenian Democracy is known to be one of the most innovative and sophisticate city-state in history of the west. This was largely due to the democratic way of life in Athens. Athens emphasized on ideology that “People are the State” and “The State is People”. Citizens in Athens were able to participate in decision making process on issues like, war and peace, finance, legislation, public work and various other government activities, in outdoor mass meeting of thousands of other citizens (Finley 1985, 19). Then the question is: who is considered as citizens?The citizenship in Athens was very exclusive. Those men who were over the age of twenty were eligible to active citizenship. Women and children were striped from the privilege of citizenship. Another group that was ineligible to citizenship was immigrant who settled in Athens and slave population, which consisted largest body of population in Athens (Held 2006, 19).

This exclusivity of citizenship in Athens is one of the most problematic issues that will be addressed later on.

As I mentioned, Athenian democracy emphasized on giving voices to their citizen and as a result, it took a form of direct participation democracy rather than our modern representation democracy. Citizens were able to attend in the sovereign assembly that was open to every citizen and directly vote on issues that were proposed. This was to ensure that every citizen had a voice and spread the power among citizens. Also selection was made by lot rather than election. Those who were selected mostly performed administrative functions in assembly. In the assembly of approximately six thousand Athenian citizens, council of five hundred were selected to organize and propose public decision, committee of 50 who served for one month and one president at its head who served one day in the...