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Roots of Democracy. World History Belcastro. Two Categories of Government. Democracy – Government by the people / Decisions made by the people Autocracy - Government by one person (King / Queen / Emperor / Pharaoh). Decision Making Autocratic or Democratic?.

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Roots of Democracy

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Roots of Democracy

World History


Two Categories of Government

  • Democracy – Government by the people / Decisions made by the people

  • Autocracy - Government by one person (King / Queen / Emperor / Pharaoh)

Decision MakingAutocratic or Democratic?

  • Teacher decides there will be a test on Friday

  • Group of Friends decide on which movie to go to by discussing three possible movies and voting on which one they want to see.

  • Fast food Manager decides to give workers a dollar per hour raise

Autocratic or Democratic?

  • Parents listen to daughter complain about staying out late and decide to let child stay out 1 hour later.

  • Parents allow all 3 children to choose (vote) what vacation to go on.

  • Mayor, elected by citizens, decides to build a new city hall

  • Citizens voted in favor of a city tax measure to increase funding to schools

Autocratic Advantages

  • Efficient

  • Order

  • Changes can Happen Quickly

Autocratic Disadvantages

  • Needs a Strong Leader

  • Decisions may not be interest of everyone

  • Too much power leads to corruption

Democratic Advantages

  • Everyone has a say

  • Corruption more difficult

  • Power too diffuse

Democratic Disadvantages

  • Messy, takes time

  • Sometimes hard to make difficult decisions

  • Need an Educated Citizenry

Autocratic forms of Government

  • Theocracy

  • Monarchy

  • Tyranny

  • Oligarchy

  • Aristocracy

Democratic forms of Government

  • Direct Democracy

  • Republic

  • Parliamentary System

  • Constitutional Monarchy


  • Total Lack of Government (State of Nature)

  • No Rules, No Leaders


  • Rule by the masses/people

  • No Leader All Decisions made by the community

  • Created in ancient Athens

  • True Democracies only work in small groups


  • Rule by People’s Representative

  • Created in Ancient Rome

    • Senator = Representative


  • Rule by Religion

  • Leader: The Priest or Main Religious Figure

  • Examples: Ancient Egypt, Modern Iran, Vatican City


  • What would be some problems with having government based on a single religion?


  • Rule by a single leader, typically claims Divine Right


  • Rule by a few individuals


  • Rule by the Wealthy

Athenian Democracy(Solon, Cliesthenese, and Pericles)

Athenian Democracy(Solon, Cleisthenese, and Pericles)


  • Outlawed Slavery

  • 4 Classes based on Wealth not Heredity

  • Only 3 Higher classes were able to hold public office

  • Fairer code of laws

  • Despite reforms Athens continued to be an autocracy


  • Reorganized Assembly

  • Allowed all citizens to submit laws for debate and passage

  • Created Council of 400

    • Advised Assembly

    • Seen as Founder of Greek Democracy


  • Led Athens in Golden Age 461-429 B.C

    • Established Direct Democracy

    • Increased number of public officials

    • Poorer citizens were able to participate

Greek Philosophy

  • Greek Thinkers Assumptions

    • 1.Universe is orderly

    • 2.People can understand order of universe

  • Respect for Human Intelligence and Reason allowed Democracy to flourish

Aristotle vs. Plato


  • “The Republic”

  • Rule of Philosopher Kings

    • Democracy = Rule of the Appetites

    • Aristocracy= Rule of the Rich


  • “Politics”

  • Man is by nature political

  • Legitimate Government- common good

    • Tyranny?, Democracy?

  • Constitutional Government

Roman Republic

  • Roman Society was made of Plebians and Patricians

  • Rome’s Republic

    • Senate

    • 2 Consuls

    • Assembly

    • Dictator

Roman Law

Twelve Tables step toward fair government

Complied into “Justinian Code”

“government of laws not men”


Hebrew’s Monotheism

-Created in God’s image, live moral lives

- “Divine Spark”

- God Given Rights, Freedom

- 10 Commandments

- Ethical vs. Legal Code


Jesus of Nazareth

- emphasized morality equality and compassion

- spread of Judeo-Christian ideas through Roman Empire


  • Renewed interest in Classical Culture

  • Humanism

  • Italian vs. Northern Renaissance

  • Spread of Ideas through Printing Press

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci

Raphael Sanzio

Francesco Petrarch

Giovanni Boccaccio

Niccolo Machiavelli

Albrecht Durer

Jan Van Eyck

Pieter Bruegel

Desiderius Erasmus

Thomas More

William Shakespeare


  • Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

    • Individuality and freedom from Church

  • England’s Protestant Revolution

  • Calvinism

  • Catholic Reformation

England’s Medieval Democratic Developments

  • Henry II

    • Jury System

    • Common law

  • King John

    • Magna Carta (Great Charter)

      • Contract between King and Nobles

      • Governance according to law

      • Due Process of Law

      • Consent of Governed (Parliament)

England’s Civil War

  • King James I and Divine Right

  • Charles I and the Petition of Right

  • 1642- Charles tries to Arrest Parliament

  • 1642-1649 English Civil War

    • Royalists/Cavaliers vs. Roundheads

    • 1649 Roundhead victory under Oliver Cromwell’s Leadership

    • 1649 Charles I Beheaded

England’s Glorious Revolution

  • Cromwell first establishes a commonwealth

  • Cromwell tears up constitution and becomes Lord Protectorate

    • Puritan Morality

  • Restoration of the Monarchy = Charles II

    • Habeas Corpus

  • Rule of James II

  • William and Mary and the Glorious Revolution

    • Bill of Rights, Cabinet System

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