Many Greek city-states began as monarchies. Some became aristocracies or oligarchies. This happened when the aristocrats close to the king overthrew the monarch and took power.
When commoners became unhappy with oligarchies, they supported powerful military men who overthrew the oligarchies. These men set themselves up as tyrants. Some tyrannies were very popular and prosperous. Other tyrants abused their power and became unpopular.
Athenians expanded the access common people had to government in gradual steps. They did this until all Athenian citizens could take part in government.
In Athens, all citizens had a voice and a vote in the making of laws. Citizens also served on juries. They could run for public office.
Athenian democracy was a direct democracy. This meant that all citizens had a direct role in making laws and running the government.
Athens was the first democracy. It was one of the inspirations for the founders of the U.S. government more than 2,000 years later.
Athens built its economy on trade. Because it had wealth from trade, Athens could become a culturally rich city-state. Athenian boys were trained to become thinkers as well as craftsmen, artists, or businesspeople.
Sparta developed as a farming and military city-state. Spartan citizens trained as warriors to defend their city-state from attacks and uprisings. Spartan boys were trained from birth to become warriors.
Identify and explain the significance of the following terms: