What were the features of Athenian democracy in the fifth century BC? What are the essential features of modern democracy? Show the differences and similarities between the two. .
Democracy is a form of government, a way of life. The word democracy comes from the Greek words demos, meaning people, and kratos, which means rule or authority. It is the government of the people, by the people for the people. The citizens of a democratic country take part in government either directly or indirectly. Athenian democracy was a direct democracy while today we have a representative democracy. In a direct democracy, the people meet in one place to make the laws for their community. It is the democracy that was practiced in Athens, in antiquity. Most modern societies have a representative democracy where the citizens elect their leaders to represent them in making decisions about laws and other issues. .
Throughout the history, the most important aspects of the democratic way of life have been the principles of individual equality and freedom, as we still have today. Even in antiquity they believed in such values such as respect for humanity, for laws, responsibilities, freedom of participation and to participate in political life. Greek political thinkers stressed the idea by law and criticised dictatorship as the worst form of government, just as in our times. .
In antiquity, each male was expected to participate in the political life and all activities being held in the polies and was responsible for taking decisions. Even today citizens are encouraged to participate in political issues and are responsible for the best of society. In ancient Athens, there was no division between legislative and executives" branches of the government. In modern democracy there is a separation of powers: Executive, where policies are discussed in the cabinet, Legislative, where legislations are passed and Judiciary, which includes the law courts and the legal system.