Compare & Contrast Essay: Ancient Democracy

All forms of democracy have been largely enjoyed by people around the world. At present, different countries have gained their independence. It is already a given that these countries have taken in consideration what the other nations did upon gaining their freedom. In line with this, it is of utmost importance to discuss the origins of democratic actions and principles that can be traced back to early human history. Ancient Athens and the Iroquois Confederacy will be compared to show how democracy has evolved over time. Ancient Athens was the first documented society to practice democracy while the Iroquois Confederacy was one of the first democratic systems on the North American continent.

In Athens, all citizens were allowed to vote as long as they were educated, male, and over the age of 18. It did not matter whether they were rich or poor, well-known or not. All male citizens were treated equally since they each played a significant role in the development of Ancient Athens. Women were respected but expected to stay at home because they were subjugated and controlled by men. Because of this, they argued that women should be left out of all decision-making.

To the contrary, the Iroquois Confederacy gave all citizens, regardless of gender, the right to speak and express themselves. Both women and men were granted the chance to participate in the democratic process, albeit in different ways. Women and men had separate councils. Although only men were allowed to be chief, women were also given the power to choose and remove chiefs based upon their performance. Moreover, only women could be clan mothers while men could not. Women usually took care of decisions and actions inside the village while men took care of business outside the village. In general, there was a balance of power between the genders, with each taking on different roles.

On the other hand, in the Iroquois Confederacy, all citizens were given the right to speak and express themselves. Both women and men were granted the chance to participate in the democratic process although in different ways. Women had their councils and men had their own. Although only men were allowed to be the chief, women were also given the power to choose the chiefs and remove them from the position if they were not doing the job correctly. Moreover, women could be clan mothers but men could not. Usually, women took care of decisions and actions inside the village, and men took care of decisions and actions outside of the village. In general, there was a balance of power between the genders, with each taking on different roles.

However, in both of these societies, equality was emphasized as something that should be enjoyed by every citizen. This entailed raising their opinions and concerns regarding the government. In Ancient Athens, the Assembly consisted of over 6000 people in addition to the 500 people who were chosen to be on the council. Council positions were selected by way of lottery in order to give everyone an opportunity. On the other hand, the Iroquois Confederacy was made up of the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Tuscarora, and Oneida Indian Nations. In order to be fair to all of the nations, a decision was not made until everyone agreed. Consequently, everything was discussed and considered from others’ perspectives.

Although the ideas of the Athenians and the Iroquois might not represent modern democracy, they have undoubtedly influenced our existing systems. At present, politicians discuss issues and try to make decisions together. People represent various roles in governments as senators, representatives, cabinet ministers, and voters. Therefore, the influence of the Ancient Athens and the Iroquois Confederacy has guided our government system up through the present.