Political Sociology: A Reader

By S. N. Eisenstadt | Go to book overview

in law or in fact, an absolute equality of political rights.

The body of fully qualified citizens being sovereign, there was no division of powers in the Greek city; it gave to its most important organs at least an all-embracing authority. But it strove to suppress all intermediary organs between the citizens and the State.

The primary assembly of citizens was, then, necessarily sovereign in theory. The magistrates and the council were only delegates charged with executing its decisions: though variable, and sometimes even extensive, the powers they exercised had no independent basis.

The examination of legal institutions leads to the same conclusions: there was no separation between political or administrative and legal organs; consequently theoretical, and sometimes effective, sovereignty resided in the mass of the citizens acting in assembly or in huge popular juries.

No city of the classical Greek world, of which there are a great number, is exactly the mirror of any other. The institutions and customs of each always preserved original features. To give a general account is tantamount to creating a composite and, therefore, non-existent city.

Social institutions always distinguished several juridical categories. Slavery, in the full sense of the word, was known everywhere. Bondage existed in several cities. The Spartan hilots furnished the best‐ known example, but a very special one since they were bondsmen of the state. Among freemen, a widespread distinction corresponding to the fundamental notion of the citizen's commonwealth recognized the category of resident foreigners or metoikos, well known in Athens. For citizens, indeed, the Greek city was hostile to naturalization and, in a fully democratic period, the Periclean law (451/0) clearly expressed this hostility.

For military purposes and taxation, citizens were divided into tax-paying classes. But the true structure of the civic body was different. The original organization had filiation or family ties as its principle ; a later organization that of residence. Conceived as a means of destroying the nobility's influence, this system had not yet taken root everywhere at the end of the classical period. Even where it existed, it had not supplanted the other (filiation) in all spheres. The classical Greek city still preserved many archaic characteristics.

It was the same in economic matters. The majority of the Greek world lived by the soil, not by industry or commerce. The state tried to intrude as little as possible in economic affairs. Rent was used to exploit wealth. The state had to take care of the provisioning of the population and to assure for its treasury the highest possible return—but nothing more. However much it practised a political and financial imperialism, it is impossible to speak of a true economic imperialism. Further, it did not attempt to utilize taxation as a social instrument. The constant program of Greek revolutionaries put forward the abolition of debts, and consequently of mortgages, and the redistribution of land. It was a program which arose in the conditions of rural life and remained there. The Greek ideal always remained that of the small proprietor making the most of his property. It never adapted to an economy founded on exchange, the production of manufactured objects in great quantity, and maritime trade.


26
The Working of the Athenian Democracy 1

A. W. Gomme

The French historian Gustave Glotz said of the Athenians that they turned what should have been

an organ of control into an organ of administrative action. The criticism explicit in this statement may well be just; but let us forget it, and substitute for "should have" the words "has been normally in other democracies"; the Athenians turned what elsewhere has been an organ of control—the popular

____________________
From A. W. Gomme, "The Working of the Athenian Democracy," History, XXXVI (1951), 12-28. Reprinted by permission of Mrs. A. W. Gomme and Basil Blackwell & Mott Ltd., London.

-203-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Political Sociology: A Reader
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 632

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.