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Essay Paper on Attitudes Toward Law and Leadership

Pericles describes democracy as a unique system of government unlike any that the world had ever seen. Pericles gives this definition of democracy, “Power in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people”. Within Athenian democracy Pericles argues that every citizen is viewed equally under the law. Citizens are not judged by social class but by their own individual accomplishments. Pericles explains what makes this system of government even better is the fact that all citizens are encouraged or even expected to participate in it. Pericles argues that because the citizens are involved in the government and they put men in positions of authority they should not only be expected to follow the laws but due so willingly.

The law is a very important part of the government and as Pericles puts it, “It commands our deep respect”. Pericles also states that the laws are written in favor of the common man and even protect the oppressed, which he feels are the most important ! laws to obey. Pericles addresses the economic prosperity of Athens. Pericles speaks of Athens worldwide trade as well as the magnificent economic power and wealth within the city itself. Pericles compares Athens trade with others from all over the world to its political structure in that both are free and open. Pericles states that Athens imports from all over the world as well as exporting all over the world.

The idea of free and open trade does not only apply to Athens worldwide business but also applies locally where citizens are encouraged to own their own businesses. Pericles argues that the economic prosperity of Athens can be seen in physical terms through the buildings and monuments that beautify the city. Economic prosperity is also mentioned in the form of land and strong military strength. Within the speech Pericles portrays Athenian citizens as generally happy and proud individuals. Pericles argues that Athenian citizens are encouraged to express individualism rather than conformity. This is most apparent when Pericles states, “In my opinion each single one of our citizens…show himself the rightful lord and owner of his own person…” Pericles states that the general good feeling among the citizens can be seen in their homes which were generally decorated to beautify them.

Everything is done for the people in Athens. They have a government run by the people, worldwide trade run by the people, and the people are given credit for making the city great, not their Gods. This is also a time when men attempted to explain the world around them through science not through religious stories or great epics. This is significant because this is a time when man is putting less faith on the unknown and placing more faith on the explained. These people revolved their life around themselves and because of this they had more leisure time for entertainment and to think. It is during this time that Greece produced many men who have become a great influence on the world that we live in today…

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