Current democratic systems have a historical precedent: the Athenian democracy promoted by Pericles in the 5th century BC. Ç. Athenian Democracy
Main features of the Athenian model
All citizens participated in the Assembly (ekklesia). Decisions related to community affairs were taken collectively. This means that their model was not representative, but that they practiced direct democracy .
To be considered a citizen of Athens, it was necessary to meet certain requirements: the individual must be of legal age and the parents must be Athenians (majority was reached at 18, but as it was mandatory to do military service for two years, they began to participate in the Assembly with 20 years). Foreigners or metecs were not entitled to vote unless they were given citizenship status by a special decree. Athenian Democracy
Citizens received financial compensation for participating in the Popular Assembly. Throughout the year they met quite often (it is estimated that forty times).
The debated proposals were addressed by a group of citizens (Committee of 50), of which they were integrated into a larger collective (Committee of 500).
The citizens integrated in these committees were the public offices of the state
Members of the Committee of 50 held the position for two months and those of the Committee of 500 for one year. To be part of these organs, two methods were used: drawing and rotation. Athenian Democracy
The foundation of Athenian democracy had a fundamental axis: the discussion and deliberation of citizens in the Assembly. As a general rule, decisions were taken by consensus.
Currently, the model of direct democracy practiced in Switzerland is the one that most resembles Athenian democracy.
Philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle were critical of the Athenian democratic system
As in any society , the Athenian had a disparity of opinion regarding democracy. Plato negatively valued the government of the people, as he understood that the rulers of the city should be the philosophers, since they were people more gifted and capable of carrying the polis forward. Athenian Democracy
For Aristotle, democracy as a form of government had a weakness: demagogues could relatively easily manipulate the views held in the Assembly.
In any case, most Athenians believed that individual happiness could not be separated from the well-being of the collective.