After the tyrants were overthrown and the city returned to democratic rule, Athens once again compiled and codified its old laws with this decree, which summarizes the accumulated law and tradition of the first century of the Athenian democratic experiment: Such further laws as may be necessary shall be inscribed upon tables by the Law-Givers elected by the Council and named hereafter, exposed before the Tribal Statutes for all to see, and handed over to the magistrates during the present month. The laws thus handed over, however, shall be submitted beforehand to the scrutiny of the Council and the five hundred Law-Givers elected by the Demes, when they have taken their oath. Further, any private citizen who so desires may come before the Council and suggest improvements in the laws.
Criticism of democracy's purpose[ edit ] Benefits of a specialized society[ edit ] One such argument is that the benefits of a specialized society may be compromised by democracy. As ordinary citizens are encouraged to take part in the political life of the country, they have the power to directly influence the outcome of government policies through the democratic procedures of voting, campaigning and the use of press.
For example, there is no guarantee that those who campaign about the government's economic policies are themselves professional economists or academically competent in this particular discipline, regardless of whether they were well-educated.
Essentially this means that a democratic government may not be providing the most good for the largest number of people. However, some have argued that this should not even be the goal of democracies because the minority could be seriously mistreated under that purported goal.
Madison, "Federalist 63," in The Federalist Papersp. He does not defend this phenomenon but rather seeks to describe it.
Manin draws from James HarringtonMontesquieuand Jean-Jacques Rousseau to suggest that the dominant form of government, representative as opposed to direct, is effectively aristocratic. As far as Montesquieu is concerned, elections favor the "best" citizens who Manin notes tend to be wealthy and upper-class.
As far as Rousseau is concerned, elections favor the incumbent government officials or the citizens with the strongest personalities, which results in hereditary aristocracy.
Manin further evinces the aristocratic nature of representative governments by contrasting them with the ancient style of selection by lot. Manin notes that Montesquieu believed that lotteries prevent jealousy and distribute offices equally among citizens from different rankswhile Rousseau believed that lotteries choose indifferently, preventing self-interest and partiality from polluting the citizen's choice and thus prevent hereditary aristocracy.
However, Manin also provides criticism of direct democracy, or selection by lot. Montesquieu finds that citizens who had reason to believe they would be accused as "unworthy of selection" commonly withheld their names from the lottery, thereby making selection by lot vulnerable to self-selection bias and, thus, aristocratic in nature.
Manin does not dwell on direct democracy's potentially aristocratic elements, perhaps because he share's Montesquieu's belief that there is nothing alarming about the exclusion of citizens who may be incompetent; this exclusion may be inevitable in any method of selection.
Additionally, Manin is interested in explaining the discrepancy between 18th century American and French revolutionaries' declaration of the "equality of all citizens" and their enactment of aristocratic elections in their respective democratic experiments.
The revolutionaries prioritized gaining the equal right to consent to their choice of government even a potentially aristocratic democracyat the expense of seeking the equal right to be face of that democracy. And it is elections, not lots, that provide citizens with more opportunities to consent.
In elections, citizens consent both to the procedure of elections and to the product of the elections even if they produce the election of elites. In lotteries, citizens consent only to the procedure of lots, but not to the product of the lots even if they produce election of the average person.
That is, if the revolutionaries prioritized consent to be governed over equal opportunity to serve as the government, then their choice of elections over lotteries makes sense. Michels[ edit ] A major scholarly attack on the basis of democracy was made by German-Italian political scientist Robert Michels who developed the mainstream political science theory of the iron law of oligarchy in Who says organization, says oligarchy" and went on to state "Historical evolution mocks all the prophylactic measures that have been adopted for the prevention of oligarchy.
Maurras criticized democracy as being a "government by numbers" in which quantity matters more over quality and prefers the worst over the best. Maurras denounced the principles of liberalism as described in The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and in Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen as based upon the false assumption of liberty and the false assumption of equality.
He claimed that the parliamentary system subordinates the national interest, or common good, to private interests of a parliament's representatives where only short-sighted interests of individuals prevail. Lagardelle[ edit ] French revolutionary syndicalist Hubert Lagardelle claimed that French revolutionary syndicalism came to being as the result of "the reaction of the proletariat against democracy," which he claimed was "the popular form of bourgeois dominance.
Shach[ edit ] Israeli politician Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach promoted Judaic law to be the natural governance for Jews and condemned democracy, he claimed that "Democracy as a machinery of lies, false notions, pursuit of narrow interests and deceit - as opposed to the Torah regime, which is based on seeking the ultimate truth.
The one does what the other asks him to do in pursuit of his own interest, so as to be given what he himself asks for, and the whole purpose of the transaction is that each would get what they want.
As governments are frequently elected on and off there tend to be frequent changes in the policies of democratic countries both domestically and internationally. Even if a political party maintains power, vociferous, headline grabbing protests and harsh criticism from the mass media are often enough to force sudden, unexpected political change.
Frequent policy changes with regard to business and immigration are likely to deter investment and so hinder economic growth. For this reason, many people have put forward the idea that democracy is undesirable for a developing country in which economic growth and the reduction of poverty are top priority.Pair “Athenian Democracy” with “The Rise of Greek City-States: Athens Versus Sparta” and ask students to discuss the costs and benefits of democracy compared to forms of government for other city-states, such as Sparta.
The following description of the institutions of Athens will focus on the democracy as it was in the 4th century, in its fully developed form, attested by the best evidence. (The story of the end of Athenian democracy is told, briefly, at the end of the “Overview of Athenian Democracy.”.
Democracy in Ancient Greece was the ideal way of governing, since all the citizens could take part to the political life. To this day, Athens represents the only example of a direct democracy. The Persians have always had a very different culture from the Greek culture, so we can call it almost the opposite.
Athens in the 5th to 4th century BCE had an extraordinary system of government: democracy. Under this system, all male citizens had equal political rights, freedom of speech, and the opportunity to participate directly in the political arena. Its purpose is to introduce, very briefly, the institutions of the Athenian democracy during the late 5th century BCE through the end of the radical democracy in the late 4th century.
This is a companion-piece to “The Development of Athenian Democracy,” also written for the CHS ’s discussion series. Development of Democracy in Athens. Democracy comes from two Greek words: a noun demos which means, "people" and a verb, kratein, which means "to rule" (Ober ). Democracy first appeared in Athens towards the beginning of the fifth century B.C.