Athenian Democracy Vs Canadian Essay, Research Paper
Athenian Democracy Vs. Canadian Democracy
The system of democracy practised by ancient Athens was a much better system of democracy than that of Canada. The Athenian system was more fair, a great deal more democratic, and directly affected ones life. The Canadian system of democracy falls short of fairness is a great deal less democratic, and it is hard to pick out the specific details that directly affect ones life.
What must first be explained is that in Athens, only citizens could vote and hold positions. Citizens were males, over the age of eighteen who were born of Athenian parents. This may have severely narrowed down the participation of all residents of Athens, but they ran their city on a different set of values, in a time long ago, which justifies the exclusion of women, slaves and whomever else was not a citizen.
Of those who were considered citizens, everyone could participate. If one didn’t have a house, there was no discrimination. There was also no discrimination based on financial situation, or social standing. People who held positions were not voted on by other citizens, but rather drawn by lot. This ensured that everyone would hold a position at least once.
In Canada, if one wants to run for a position, one must first have a large source of money, as well as a high social standing, to ensure financial backing, in case more funding is needed. After funding is secured, there is the matter of an ad campaign, and influencing the public to vote for you. The main problem lies in voting. One can only vote if there is a permanent residence to contact the voter at. Immigrants who have not gained citizenship, no matter how long they have been living in the country, cannot vote. While Canada does have a fairly high percentage of the population voting (80%), this still does not include everyone. Another major problem is with how the person running is voted in. As long as that person receives the most votes compared to each of the other candidates, they are considered the winner. However, even when all of the opposition votes tabulated together equal more than the total votes of the winning candidate, they still win. This is a flaw that the Athenian democratic system never had, due to their positions of power being drawn randomly.
In Athens, when a bill was voted on, it directly affected those who voted for it. Such as, if the quandary of war was brought up, and it was voted that Athens would go to war, the people voting knew they would have to go to war themselves.
In Canada, if a bill is voted on, the people who have the final decision are the elected officials, who are supposed to represent the general public. While the public does not get to vote on bills and propositions, they are allowed to speak at public meetings to voice their opinions, though generally they go unanswered.
The people of Athens considered democracy a special thing, and felt it their duty to take part, which they did on a regular basis.
Today, we have grown used to democracy, and regard it as something that will never go away, almost taken for granted. Complaints about government are heard everywhere, yet no one makes an effort to change the system so it becomes more fair. Most are content complaining, as it gives them something to talk about.
Thus, it has been proved that the Athenian way of democracy was much more complete and fair than our own way of government.