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Paragraph on “Who was the founder of Democracy?” complete paragraph for Class 9, Class 10, Class 11 and Class 12

Who was the founder of Democracy?

In the seventh century before Christ, Athens was seething with discontent. Nobles and rich men ruled the city, a privilege which they used quite shamelessly to their own advantage. There were no written laws which the poor could appeal to in order to obtain justice. Those who ruled the city dispensed the law —all too often in favour of the rich against the poor.

In 594 BC a noble named Solon drew up a code of laws and had it engraved on stone pillars which were set up in the market place. He also established a council of four hundred members, in which all citizens, except the poorest, could have a place. He set up courts where trials were heard before a jury and tried to make Athens a place were every citizen could live in peace. However, he did not succeed completely, and the nobles managed to retain a great deal of their influence.

For a while, Athens was then ruled by Tyrants, but in time the citizens of Athens revolted. Led by Cleisthenes, they set up a new form of government. Based on the ideas of Solon, a new council of Five Hundred, chosen by the citizens themselves, was established. The archons, as the officers who carried out the orders of the council were called, were chosen by lot and the citizens also voted for ten generals to head the army and lead it into battle. In this way every citizen had a say in the government of the city.

This system of government, which the Greeks called democracy, is the basis on which modern democratic government is for-med. Greek democracy, however, was not the same as modern democracy. In every Greek city there were many slaves who had no political rights at all — only free-born men counted as citizens. But it was from this idea that modern systems of democracy have grown.



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