Democracy and Empire in Athens

Ancient Athenian society was both traditional and innovative. One of the ways in which Athens stands out across time is through its commitment to a particularly unique model of democracy. Although this kind of democracy is clearly very different than ours, scholars have often discussed several parallels between Athens and the contemporary United States. One point of comparison is that Ancient Athens, much like the United States today, was both a democracy and an empire.

Please write ONE to TWO paragraphs on how you think (based on what you’ve read, seen, and heard so far) Athenians might have negotiated the tensions between democracy and empire. How do you think Americans today negotiate these tensions? Also, what are some of the major similarities and differences between the two societies. Be sure to use quotations and/or examples from the videos, readings, and mini-lectures.


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