Thursday, July 18, 2024
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The election of today originates in ancient Greece and early tribal societies were democratic

These days, Rwandans are preparing for the elections of the head of state and the members of the parliament, and the campaigning activities of candidates from different parties are ongoing. yet some people may be listening to the election without knowing its origin.

Like so much else in the modern world, voting was invented by the traditional World. The complex elections system we see today in different nations was first developed in Greece and Rome. However, voting in the Graeco-Roman World was often very different from today.

According to classical wisdom, many early tribal societies were democratic in that, they elected their kings or leaders. Many even elected a council of elders. There is a long history of elections and democracy in so-called primitive societies. Many early Greek societies had a tradition of voting. This is most apparent in the first recorded use of voting, which took place in Sparta. This involved the election of the ephors.

Election is the formal process of selecting a person for public office or accepting or rejecting a political proposition by voting. It is important to distinguish between the form and the substance of elections. In some cases, electoral forms are present but the substance of an election is missing, as when voters do not have a free and genuine choice between at least two alternatives.

Most countries hold elections in at least the formal sense, but in many of them the elections are not competitive (e.g., all but one party may be forbidden to contest) or the electoral situation is in other respects highly compromised.

The Spartan Constitution, which was written by the mythological Lygurgas, enshrined a system of voting. There is also some evidence that leagues of city-states would often vote as part of their decision-making process.

All voting was in public and there was no secret ballot. It should be remembered that immigrants, women, and many slaves could not vote. Athenian democracy has been categorized as a form of radical democracy.

Voting in the Roman World

Rome was originally a monarchy and after expelling its last king, the Romans developed a unique form of democracy. The Senate was an assembly of legislators and policymakers who were elected indirectly.

However, over time the Romans developed a series of legislatures and assemblies in which citizens could vote directly. Roman citizens voted for nearly all their officials including the consuls. The Senatorial elite was able to manipulate this to ensure that their interests were safeguarded.

Roman voting often took place within tribes. The lower class, or plebians, could vote in certain assemblies and this gave them some say in the affairs of the state. However, most people could not vote due to rules on property. Rome developed a very complex voting system, and it was both a direct and an indirect form of democracy. They also were the first to introduce the secret ballot, now considered essential to free and fair elections.

The legacy of Rome and Greece’s voting

After the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Classical World went into decline. Voting became very rare. The Byzantine Senate which was the successor of the Roman Senate continued to vote until the 9th century AD.

However, the tradition of voting continued in Medieval Europe, especially in urban centers. This was in part influenced by Greek and Roman examples. During the Renaissance, the Graeco-Roman World was widely studied, and its systems of voting inspired many to establish more democratic forms of government.

This was enormously influential in the development of modern democracies. For example, the Roman and Greek voting systems were studied by the American and French Revolutionaries when they were drafting their democratic constitutions.

 

 

 

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