Democracy, a word so everchanging that the term itself simply does not hold a static position in its definition. From the time period of ancient Athens Greece to the 2017 modern era we are accustomed to, the term Democracy has changed in order to fit the dynamic pace of human change. Along the way, important historical landmarks mark the stages where the meaning of Democracy is revealed. For example, the Revolutionary War and the Articles of Confederation, along with the principles seen in the Roman Republic, play a large role in helping see how Democracy has not always been what people think today, and how it did exist during the first few decades of U.S. history. To gain an understanding of what our founding fathers seeked to establish in their new country, one must look at the political ideas of the Roman Republic and of Ancient Athens. From the Roman Republic came the ideas of res publica or public affair which would be later used as foundations for Republicanism. Before the Republic’s fall to Julius Caesar’s’ imperial government, Rome under the Republic was the pinnacle of decentralization and individual liberty in a world of dictated affairs where more landholders were now able to participate in government. Although the Republic had been no more, the acronym SPQR (Senatus Populus Que Romanus – Senate and the People of Rome) served as a reminder that people under citizenship were once able to rule the government. Adjacently, Ancient Athens had also provided the political idea of demokratia which meant the rule of the demos or citizens. However, these citizens had to fit a certain description: free men of Athens. This definition differs tremendously from what we know today, but the idea of restrictions held true to the U.S.’ earlier form of democracy. Although both of these political ideas fell weak to dictatorship, they were strong enough to make it on the Founding Fathers’ list. Now that there is a better understanding of the political ideas used to establish the U.S., one must look at the Articles of Confederation, often noted as a failure of the U.S., but is actually a success. The Articles of Confederation had destroyed the country, but fought to be opposite of England. The AoC wanted no central authority, and was nice because no unified place had existed and each state could establish their own guidelines. This was an example of how the Founding Fathers were dumb because they believed that Patriotism would work, but in reality, Patriotism stops when the government starts asking for money. An example of this is the Revolutionary war (Revolution: mass uprising by poor against rich) where the rich, represented by the Founding Fathers, hated being taxed by England. The solution was to birth a country that would grant wealthy citizens to free themselves from said taxation. With suggestions to defeat the Goliath that was England, George Washington-trained in English tactics- proposed using the successful guerilla tactics, but to avoid taxing citizens for war expenses, congressional leaders meeting in the U.S. capital of Philadelphia insisted on using a system of requisitions. This idea was proven idiotic when looking at the experience of Joseph Plumb Martin, a 16 year old enlisted in the Continental Army. He wrote in his journals of experience that the term of “no taxation without representation” did not mean much to most of the soldiers because they got to travel the world. However, when the well ran completely dry, Spain and France had to come to the U.S.’ rescue. With the help of these countries, the U.S. won against England, but the attitude towards paying back the soldiers such as Martin proved to show that the wealthy only cared about the wealthy. There are specific examples of how Democracy was threatened, however being threatened is not always bad, just the concept of Democracy changes. For example, Daniel Shays Rebellion had a whole bunch of poor people getting angry with the rich and the problem is that everybody has guns which is a problem for the rich because the majority of the population is poor. This showed the pattern of class warfare- one class against another-. Another example is the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion, another class warfare caused by a regressive tax on whiskey in Pennsylvania where the poor could no longer afford their only form of booze. Additionally, the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 made it illegal to criticize the government- a pattern now being seen today. Among the poor people being targeted in these events are the Federalists: rich and educated white men who believed that all poor people were pendejos and assumed that the uneducated would always be uneducated. This is why the electoral votes were put in place- educated white men did not place enough trust in the people to be able to decide who to vote for. In essence, Democracy has not always been what people think today, but it did exist during the first few decades of U.S. history because democracy back then was not the rule of the people, but the rule of the citizens. Like the Athenians, early citizens of the United States could only be defined by certain characteristics. These characteristics included being rich, white, educated, male, and Protestant. This demographic was only a fraction of the whole that included the majority being women, and others not fitting the description. Although the idea of Democracy is malleable, it did exist in the first few decades of the U.S. because to be Democracy is for the citizens, which does not always mean the people. And if you look at it that way, then Democracy was existent.
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