Ancient Greeks admired human beings, individual achievements & believed that every person has dignity &worth. This is reflected in Greek art, as well as the Ancient Greek idea of democracy. The idea that each person could be a decision-maker implied that each person was treated with dignity and respect.
In the 5 th century BC, Ancient Athens invented a new form of government, in which people ruled – called DEMOCRACY (in Greek - rule by the people). Greek democracy was direct democracy. What does this mean? direct democracy is when everyone participated in the government personally & directly
Was Ancient Greek democracy perfect? Could everyone actually participate & vote? Actually, no. Some people were excluded from this first democracy in human history. Who were they? Women, slaves and foreign residents couldn’t vote.
REASON, LAW & EDUCATION textbook - p. 8 Ancient Greek philosophy focused on the role of reason, logical thinking, laws, knowledge, education. The Ancient Greek philosophers SOCRATES, PLATO & ARISTOTLE laid the foundations of Western philosophy. SOCRATES (Socratic method) focused on logic and reason – using a Q & A approach. Why is that important for democracy?
Aristotle wrote: “Passion influences those in power, even the best of men, but law is REASON without desire.” Aristotle also wrote against tyranny (autocracy, rule by one person) “A tyrant has no regard to any public interest, except as conducive to his private ends… A tyrant is not to be overthrown until men begin to have confidence in one another.”
What was Plato’s big idea? Plato wanted society governed by the wisest rulers, whom he called “philosopher-kings.” In his writings, Plato created a Utopia – a perfect state ruled by a wise and educated ruler. How do these ideas apply to democracy?
Ancient Greeks were also the first ones to develop Three Branches of Government - and they are… Legislative Executive Judicial Why was that important for a true democracy? To prevent one branch from taking over. Checks & balances between the 3 branches in the USA
ANCIENT GREEKS INVENTED THE OLYMPICS The Olympics began in Ancient Greece in 776 BC as an athletic festival to please the god Zeus. The Greeks even suspended wars between the city-states when the Olympic games were held. The Olympic games were held in a huge stadium in Olympia. How often? Every 4 years.
Ancient Roman contributions to Democracy (p. 10) Ancient Rome invented indirect democracy = Republic = Representative Democracy Why is this important? In most countries, it’s not practical to have a direct democracy (too many people).
The 12 TABLES (Tablets) Ancient Romans understood the importance of having WRITTEN Laws. They had the laws carved on 12 stone tablets and publicly displayed. Why does it matter? This established the idea that the laws apply equally to every citizen and can’t be changed on a whim.
Principles of Roman Legal Code: Ancient Romans had a well organized system of WRITTEN LAWS (LEGAL CODE) similar to ours: fairness, equality treatment under the law, innocent until proven guilty. Importance for democracy? Set the foundations for fairness, equality & protecting people’s rights in the legal system.
Democratic roots in the 3 monotheistic religions Judaism (Jews = Hebrews) – around 1800 BC Christianity – 1-st century AD Islam (Muslim religion) – 7 th century AD
MORALITY One of the earliest steps on the road to democracy was the common agreement on right & wrong = MORALITY The oldest written agreement on MORALITY is found in the books of the first monotheistic religion – JUDAISM The tradition of focus on morality was continued by the two main monotheistic religions today – CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM One of the earliest steps on the road to democracy was the common agreement on right & wrong = MORALITY The oldest written agreement on MORALITY is found in the books of the first monotheistic religion – JUDAISM The tradition of focus on morality was continued by the two main monotheistic religions today – CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM
The TEN COMMANDMENTS All 3 religions share the Ten Commandments as basic moral values. God inscribed them on stone tablets, which he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. What do the Ten Commandments have to do with democracy?
THE INDIVIDUAL & THE COMMUNITY All 3 religions emphasized the connection between the individual and the community Responsibilities of the community – to help its members in need Responsibilities of each individual – charity and work for the common good Equality of people before God All 3 religions emphasized the connection between the individual and the community Responsibilities of the community – to help its members in need Responsibilities of each individual – charity and work for the common good Equality of people before God