Contributions of Athens and Rome to Modern American Government

Essay by IcedemonHigh School, 10th gradeA+, March 2004

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Many factors have contributed to the formulation and construction of modern-day American government. Among these factors, some ancient governments such as Athens and Rome have contributed ideas and structures. Although many differences exist between these ancient governments and America, there are still many similarities. The governments of Athens, Rome, and America have many differences, although Athens and Rome contributed many ideas to the formulation of American government.

The Athenian government is described as unique. "The Athenian political system was and is unique. The Athenian government was the world's first democracy" (Falmouth). The executive portion of the government was unique at its time. It consisted of 9 archons, and 10 strategoi. The archons were the administrators, and ran the city, while the strategoi acted as generals, implemented foreign policy, and led the armies. The legislative branch of Athenian government consisted of the Boule, or Council, and the Ecclesia, or the Assembly.

The Boule consisted of 500 members who were chosen annually by a random drawing. They were responsible for formulating laws and state policies. The Ecclesia consisted of all Athenian citizens, who were free men who owned land. These people were responsible for electing their Archons and Strategoi. They also discussed and voted on the Council's legislation (Hintze). Athens' judicial system consisted of no lawyers, or judges. Defendants presented their own case to a jury of their peers, who passed a ruling. Some common penalties passed by the jury were fines, temporary loss of citizenship, exile, or death (Nardo).

The Roman government also consisted of the three branches we are familiar with, the executive, legislative, and judicial. "From the Founding of Rome in 753 to 509 B.C. Rome was a monarchy, ruled by kings. In 509 B.C., the Romans expelled the Etruscans and established the Republic. Having witnessed the problems of...