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Ancient greece

  1. 1. Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Ancient Greeks and their Decline Michael E. Newton The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society's Descent into Tyranny
  2. 2. Causes of the Greatness of Ancient Greece <ul><li>Natural Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Geography </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom </li></ul>
  3. 3. Natural Resources <ul><li>Silver mine of Laurion (coinage) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ships to fight Persians </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gold mine of Thasos (coinage) </li></ul><ul><li>Lumber (ships, housing) </li></ul><ul><li>Marble (buildings) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Geography
  5. 5. Geography <ul><li>Surrounded by water (trade) </li></ul><ul><li>Mountainous (defense, decentralized gov) </li></ul><ul><li>Mediterranean climate (crop production) </li></ul><ul><li>Fertile valleys (crop production) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Freedom <ul><li>Freedom of Speech </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Equality (isegoria) vs freedom (parrhesia) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Right to vote (true democracy) </li></ul><ul><li>Private property (most important) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizenship based on land ownership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom of speech & right to vote given to land owners only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Slaves & Metics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free trade </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ideas moved with goods </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Freedom (cont) <ul><li>Decentralized government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mountainous terrain with isolated valleys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual city-states </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No central government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>City-state governments limited to defense, standard weights & measures, coinage, law & order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SCOTUS Brandeis: Laboratories of democracy </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Why Did Greece Succeed? <ul><li>Natural Resources? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Other countries had gold, silver, lumber, and building stones. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Geography? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Other regions had mountains, valleys, water, and good climate. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Why Did Greece Succeed? (cont) <ul><li>FREEDOM! </li></ul><ul><li>At the time, only the Greek people had free speech, the right to vote, private property, and free trade. </li></ul><ul><li>Only Greece had small and decentralized government. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Why Greece Fell? <ul><li>Loss of natural resources? </li></ul><ul><li>Change in geography? </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of freedom! </li></ul>
  11. 11. Loss of Freedom <ul><li>Democracy = mob rule/tyranny of majority </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Democratic Athens oppressed its neighbors (477-404 BC) and voted to kill Socrates (399 BC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pericles (leader of Athens 461-429 BC) told Athens: “For what you hold is, to speak somewhat plainly, a tyranny.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cleon (Pericles’ successor 429-422 BC) told Athens: “Your empire is a despotism and your subjects disaffected conspirators...” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Real liberty is neither found in despotism, nor in the extremes of democracy.” ~ Hamilton </li></ul>
  12. 12. Decline of Ancient Greece <ul><li>Delian League (477-454 BC), Athenian Empire (454-431 BC), and Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) weakened Greek city-states, paved way for Alexander the Great. </li></ul><ul><li>Roman REPUBLICANism surpassed the Greek DEMOCRATic system. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Republicanism v. Democracy Then & Now <ul><li>Democrats: “Democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence” as the people grow more “accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others.” ~ Polybius (Greek historian 200-118 BC) </li></ul><ul><li>Republicans: Liberty, limited government, constitutions, & rule of law. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Any Questions? <ul><li>“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana </li></ul><ul><li>The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society's Descent into Tyranny </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Ancient Greece - Communist Russia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Ancient Rome - Fascist Italy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Ancient Israel - Nazi Germany </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> - United States of America </li></ul></ul>