Section government? The time periods that will be

Section 1: Identification and Evaluation of sourcesThis study will investigate the question: What parallels can be drawn between 5th century Athens, Greece and 18th and 19th century United States government? The time periods that will be used are 5th century BC and 18th and 19th century AD, to allow the analysis of the beginning of democracy and its transition to United States government/democracy. The first source I have selected for a detailed analysis is William Kelly Prentice’s book, “The Greek Political Experience” published in 1941. The origin of this source is valuable because Prentice has written four printed works on the subject between the years of 1883-1922. Moreover, the date of the publication of the source, 1941, limits its value, as it designates that Prentice, at the time written, and new information on the topic has since been discovered. Nevertheless, the origin of the source strengthens its value as Prentice was Ewing Professor of Greek Languages and Literature and was Emeritus at Princeton University. The purpose of Prentice’s book is to analyze the development of what came to be the birth of democracy in Athens, Greece, how other cultures influenced it, and how it later affected the United States government. This is valuable, for it indicates the extended period of time the writing covers. However, the fact that the author covered distinct time periods, limits its value to a historian researching the Greek political development. The second source I have selected for a detailed analysis is Paul K. Conkin’s book  “Self-Evident Truths: Being a Discourse on the Origins and Development of the First Principles of American Government — Popular Sovereignty, Natural Rights, and Balance and Separation of Powers” published in 1974. The origin of this source is valuable because Conkin was a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin and has written journals and books on American history. Moreover, the date of publication of the source, 1974, limits its value, as it indicates that Conkin could have outdated information or does not have newly found information on the development of the American government. However, the origin of the source is strengthened by the fact that Conkin has received awards for his writings, such as the Albert J. Beveridge Award in American History. The purpose of Conkin’s book is to look back upon the eighteenth-century sources of moral and political views, their connection to 5th century Athens, Greece, dealing with the American government, and to see how they continue to be a part of our democracy today. Therefore, it provides an insight into the views of the founding fathers as they began to establish a democracy, also looking at three main ideas: natural rights, popular sovereignty, and balance and separation of powers. This source is strengthened by the analyzation Conkin makes on early sources of doctrines by the founders of the American democracy. Section 2: Investigation Most historians would agree that there is no location to the idea of a government and its power coming from the people. However in medieval times it was found that long before them, Plato suggested a form of contract in his book Laws and he focused on the best forms of government which did mark the beginning of natural-law theories. (Conkin, 2) Plato, was a Greek philosopher who founded the Academy in Athens and a natural-law theory being a principle of laws that came from nature, religion, or right reason. The influence of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman Church revealed that his views on government and law united well with the views of Greek scholars. (Conkin, 4) Christians had many different views on political issues as they depended on the word of the Lord to guide them even through the foundation of their governments. Although democracy to the Greeks meant a city-state governed by the people gathered by an assembly, it did not matter whether a city was frail or powerful, like Athens, they were all a democracy. (Prentice, 36) The idea that everyone within a government should be equal, derived from the Greek statesman, Pericles. He would remind the Athenian citizens that they are all equal before the law, are free to do anything they desired without being criticized by their neighbour, and that they would never use their superior authority to be prejudice against their individual authority. (Prentice, 47) The American government would take that and translate it to reminding its citizens that they were not slaves, in the perspective of feudalism, with the idea of liberty meaning, “free and equal”. (Conkin, 84) However, they allowed those with power to live with privilege and be able to distinguish who was not going to be a part of that equality. They did this so there would more security of their rights. They would think that God wanted them to live in, “prosperity and advantage” in order to have a “holy, just, comfortable, and happy” life. (Conkin, 85) When Greek immaterialism was passed on to the Western Church we would see situations where the false claims of popes and priests were rejected. There was this need for keeping reason and abstract intact. Plato would view this as an example of extreme democracy where a state is being ruled by, “ignorant amateurs” that have no type of training on how to run a government. (Prentice, 47)A bicameral parliament consisted of two chambers or branches in the legislative body. The Ekklesia was the principal assembly of Athens, it is the Latin term for the Christian church as a whole. Nothing could be compared to the Ekklesia bicameral parliament as it was all-powerful. It had the popular law court that the sovereignty of the people would be found in its clearest expression. (Prentice, 36) The American version of a bicameral parliament brought complexity to the legislative process that actually slowed the process. The American courts did consist of a balanced system that consisted of an executive and a legislative branch, and once that was established a restraint in the government that granted trust to its people through the constitution. (Conkin, 175)When the Greek Empire was lost in the Peloponnesian War, the situation between the wealthy and the poverty-stricken became rancorous. They created a property tax that was only used in time of needs such as when an empire was lost. It took into account the value and the income of the property held by each citizen and would only tax those with the largest property holdings. (Prentice, 44) After the Stamp Act brought controversy to the people, Americans decided that they could only get taxed by consent, they would deny taxation, internal or external. (Conkin, 34-35) However, in Athens it continued to support who they could and gave them the responsibility of collecting the money from those who did pay taxes.  People who owned an intermediate amount of land would not be heavily taxed and would be given deductions. In order for the state to collect its dues, it would end up creating a system where everyone would pay the same amount of taxes, but those who were wealthiest would have to pay in advance. The state would also commit evasion so it would be able to collect its dues (Prentice, 44). America noticed that taxes required consent to use them involving private property. Not all, but almost all owners of real property had the right to vote and participate in tax legislation. (Conkin, 108)Democracy in Athens consisted of a general leader, an expert financial administrator, and a demagogue. A demagogue is a political leader who seeks support but in the form of appealing to prejudices and popular desires rather than being rational. They could do things such as Hyperbolus did when he urged the Assembly to vote for reckless military adventures overseas, knowing that he would not deal with the consequences but that the head generals of command would, if his idea failed. (Prentice, 40) John Adams would use the word democracy as a description of a system in which the people ruled directly, unchecked by right, by law, or by truth. (Conkin, 187) This is how the Athenians would do it as Hyperbolus was a politician, but at the time he was a demagogue, he was a citizen, like everyone else, and he held an abundance of power. America would begin to view democracy as the idea of limiting authority, ensuring freedoms that included ideas of responsiveness to the popular will, and loose ideas of social equality. (Conkin, 188) In Athens, democracy was ruled by the poverty-stricken, while oligarchy was ruled by the wealthy. This caused each group to want to exploit one another, but they did not so each had the use of physical violence. At the time there was no stability in the economy as the wealthy became poor and the poor became wealthy every rapidly, but that never interfered with the political harmony. (Prentice, 43) America dealt with something similar to this when the wake of a Civil War began. The North’s perspective on it was that it maintained the nation but the federal government took the responsibility of guaranteeing the rights of African Americans at the state level. (Conkin, 139) Aristotle tried to reconcile the forms of government by trying to harmonize wealth and poverty, oligarchy and democracy, and civic virtue and selfishness. He relied on the middle class but never tried to force one type of government upon the people. America liked that idea and began a mixed constitution that consisted of aristocracy, democracy, and monarchy. (Conkin 145) The United States wanted to have the interests of a few and many and they also focused on the principle of unity. It therefore seems that fifth century Athenian government was responsible for influencing the government that began to form in the United States in the 18th and 19th century, as the ideas of the power coming from the people formed and extended. Many decisions on the government in Athens that focused on religion, nature, or right reason led to the United States’ government to focus on those natural-rights as they saw the success it held in those ancient times. The equality that Pericles proposed was truly meant for those of higher class and the United States did also take it that way during times such as Civil War. Having a bicameral parliament was only of good use in Athens in the Ekklesia  as in America it only brought complexity and confusion to the people. Taxation in Athens and the United States was brought up with consent but only in Athens was it not given out equally at the beginning as in America all property was taxed the same. The word democracy meant a variety of things depending on who was talking about it and even on the time period. But in both Athens and America, it ended up being a mixed democracy that consisted of the same three same governments being democracy, monarchy, and aristocracy. Section 3: Reflection This investigation has allowed me to gain an insight into the knowledge some historians have been able to comprehend, as well as how they struggle to understand the development of something that happened centuries ago. I feel that I have been able to expand my skill in the study of history that is in the core of it. Being able to dissect and analyze sources while being able to present the different views on the subject  has helped my reach a conclusion to my investigation. To carry out my investigation, I read books by eminent historians on the theme, that concerned the theme of this study. I began to realize the endeavour these historians face when I began to look through my sources and began to compare them. As I read my sources I noticed that they were very different to each other in the sense that one focused on solely one subject while the other went into depth about many different subjects. On one side, we have a study that William Kelly Prentice published in 1941 titled, “The Greek Political Experience” that argued the development in the Greek government and how it all mainly happened in Athens. On the other side, we have the text of Paul K. Conkin published in 1974 titled, “Self-Evident Truths: Being a Discourse on the Origins and Development of the First Principles of American Government — Popular Sovereignty, Natural Rights, and Balance and Separation of Powers” that gave insight on the American government coming from England but how it was influenced also on places such as Egypt and the Roman empire. Even though it was difficult to compare sources and find the parallels between the two, at the end of it all, I had understood the theme and did find some surprising parallels between the two. There has always been the thought that one cannot know the absolute truth of a history subject as some events can be lost in translation due to language barriers and such. This investigation did provide me with valuable information into the challenges and tasks historians face while researching as they might have limited sources. I now appreciate the importance of analyzing the credibility of historical sources while I begin forming my opinion on a historical topic.