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Government in Ancient Greece. Democracy. Greek Political Structures. City-states have different forms of government Monarchy —rule by a king aristocracy —rule by nobility Oligarchy —rule by small group of powerful merchants and artisans. Tyrants Seize Power.

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greek political structures
Greek Political Structures
  • City-states have different forms of government
    • Monarchy—rule by a king
    • aristocracy—rule by nobility
    • Oligarchy—rule by small group of powerful merchants and artisans
tyrants seize power
Tyrants Seize Power
  • Rulers and common people clash in many city-states
  • Tyrants—nobles and wealthy citizens win support of common people
  • They seize control and rule in the interests of ordinary people
sparta s government and society
Sparta’s Government and Society
  • Sparta government has four branches; citizens elect officials
  • Three social classes: citizens, free noncitizens, and helots—slaves
democracy in the golden age
Democracy: In the Golden Age
  • About 621 B.C., democracy develops in Athens
  • Ruler Solon abolishes debt slavery
  • Cleisthenes has citizens make laws
  • Only native-born, property-owning males are citizens
social status and democracy
Social Status and Democracy
  • In Athens, the people were divided into three groups:
    • Upper class - male citizens of Athens since birth
    • Middle class - males who were not born in Athens
    • Lower class - slaves
what were slaves
What were slaves?
  • Slaves were normally captured prisoners of wars.  They were sold to people and whoever bought them owned them. 
  • Some slaves lived good lives with their owners.  Others lived in terrible conditions or toiled in mines until death. 
  • Unlike slaves in America, slaves in Greece got paid and if they saved their money they might be able to buy their own freedom. 
what is democracy
What is democracy
  • Means rule by the people
  • Remember, at first, because city-states were separated from each other, each had its own government and were ruled by a few wealthy men. However, they moved toward democracy.
government in athens
Government in Athens
  • Pericles was the leader of Athens for thirty years. 
    • He was not a monarch or despot.
  • The people of Athens elected him year after year; Skillful politician, inspiring speaker, respected general
    • He was the one to declare that Athens was a democracy; Pericles hires more public officials; creates direct democracy
    • Direct democracy—citizens rule directly, not through representatives
  • In Athens, power was “in the hands of many rather than the few.” 

Compared to other ancient governments, Athens was democratic, as Citizens had more rights in Greeks’ cities than any of the others. 

    • They could do almost anything they wanted to do.  They could own property, take part in politics and the law. 
    • Most of the men in Greece were citizens, but women, slaves, and foreigners could not be. 
    • In Sparta only rich men were citizens. Citizenship was like a family.  It depended on birth.  Only children of citizens could be citizens themselves.  Children that lived in Athens all of their lives were not citizens if their parents came from other places. 
how did they make the laws
How did they make the laws?
  • Only men who were born in Athens were allowed to vote.
  • They did this at public assemblies where upper class citizens discussed laws that might benefit Athens.
  • These assembly meetings often got very noisy and led to many arguments between the men who were there.

Discussion Question: Why or Why Not?

Would Athens be considered a democracy by today’s standards?

Page 134 in text can help you

discussion point
Discussion Point
  • Would be considered a limited democracy today