Pericles Biography Essay

1067 words - 4 pages

1 The aristocrat Pericles was responsible in every way for the development of the Athenian democracy. Pericles was one of the rare men who didn’t just accept the world’s conditions, but he tried to shape it to an image in his mind, the image of a perfect, or almost perfect democracy.# He was a high government official in the Athenian democracy during the years 446-429 B.C., which is now called the Periclean Age. He wasn’t the founder or inventor of democracy but he came to its leadership 50 years after it started while it was still growing or developing. Under his rule, Athens developed a direct democracy which allowed many citizens to take part in the day-to-day government affairs. Athenian power and influences increases with this. Pericles founded Athenian colonies, helping to convert a coalition into an Athenian empire.#
2 In the 450s, under his leadership, the Athenian assembly passed a series of laws that went far toward establishing a democratic constitution. Pericles believed glory and immortality could be achieved by citizens of democracy based on legal and political equality. He intended to create a new quality of life.# “Pericles felt that he must show democracy would bring to all Athenian citizens the advantage reserved for the well-born few. The democracy would encourage merit in its traditional form and reward it with victory, glory, and immortality.”# This paper will examine Pericles and his effect on the Athenian democracy. Pericles was very important to the development of the Athenian democracy because he didn’t differentiate the poor and the wealthy.
3 Pericles’ influences as a child were the philosophers Damon and Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, who many people called “Nous”, for mind or intelligence.# Damon was supposed to be just supposed to be Pericles’ music teacher, but went beyond with his teachings and taught him his “theory of music and its relationship to ethnics and politics.”# Anaxagoras influenced Pericles’ political thought and practice. His teachings helped make him a unique leader.
4 The Athenian democracy went as far as being a government by the people within the narrow confines of the polis.# The citizens could pursue their private interests. They were also allowed to seek the seek the highest goals by placing their interests at the service of the city.#Pericles stated during the Funeral Oration at Samos that Athens was a “free state, both in politics and in social life.”# People might say it wasn’t fair because Pericles made Athenian citizenship limited to adult males who had an Athenian mother and father.# Citizens who wanted to, could try to achieve their private goals and manage their private affairs. They could have their interests at the service of the city to help them seek what they desire. “Pericles believed that man’s capacities and desires could be fulfilled at the highest possible level only through government participation.”# The government that allowed you the most active participation in government...

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