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Pericles and Athenian Democracy

            When looking at Athenian culture, most people choose to say Pericles is the founder and father of democracy. But on the contrary, when looking at the facts, one can come to a different conclusion. Pericles, Solon, and Cleisthenes all deserve the title "Father of Democracy." Although Pericles did create what today can be identified as a democracy, that does not mean he deserves full credit. Before Pericles came, the Athenian leaders Solon, (594-593 BCE) Pisistratus, (546 BCE) and Cleisthenes (507 BCE) laid the groundwork that served as the foundation for Pericles' well known democracy. However, Pisistratus does not truly deserve the title "Father of Democracy" due to some of his actions; or better yet, lack of actions as leader (Cutrone).
             What qualifies one to be called the "Father of Democracy?" A father is usually considered the head of a family and the main leader, which in some cases, makes Pericles the father. However, the entire reason that makes a man a father, is his family. Without the family, a man wouldn't be deserving of the title "Father." The family in this case, is the previous Athenian leaders- Solon and Cleisthenes. This is why all three leaders: Solon, Cleisthenes and Pericles are deserving of the title "Father of Democracy." Because without one another there would have been no democracy (Cutrone). First and foremost, the starting point of Athenian Democracy was Solon. During his reign, Solon re-wrote Dracos Law Code and turned it into the constitution. The constitution created set laws which any stable democracy needs. Solon also created four classes based on wealth as opposed to heredity. This was fundamental to the creation of democracy because it gave the Athenian citizens the opportunity to move up in society and create a better life. Even though classes aren't technically considered democratic, it was one step in the right direction.

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