The earliest form of democracy can be traced back to the historical times. It is believed that Democracy originated from Greek. This is considering that the word is derived from a Greek word “krato” which means power. In terms of leadership, democracy means leading through example. However in the ancient Greek, democracy did not necessarily mean a democratic process. This is because some practices like barring women from democratic movements were applied (Aristotle 1962). This in the true sense is quite undemocratic. The democracy as perceived in the modern times has undergone a lot of evolution and cannot be compared to the ancient time.
However, Athenian democracy has been categorized as a direct form of democracy. As stated, the modern views of democracy had provided women with global suffrage; here another difference can be established between ancient democracy and modern democracy demonstration. Athenian direct democracy, even though it is selective in regard to voting rights is founded on “direct popular representation within the government” whereas modern democracy operates using some form of representative mechanisms, for example, elections; in modern democracy, voting is a fundamental right of both women and men within liberal democracies (Kariel, 1970). Most world leaders have expressed their views regarding what democracy is. President Abraham Lincoln of the United States of America defined democracy as a process of delegation the power to the people. This in his opinion would ensure that the government is owned by the people and is for the people and not individuals. This suggests that democracy is about the people taking part in governing themselves. On the other hand, in government for the people, government is there to facilitate the activities of the public it governs irrespective of whether people themselves rule or not. The first illustration indicates the ancient Greece democracy which is also referred to as participatory democracy while the second illustration highlights accountability and responsibility in government which is the main characteristic of the modern liberal democracy (Green, 1985).
The nature of labor in ancient democracy and capitalism is regarded as a major difference. This is compared to the modern democracy where all the factors which include exploitation, civil freedom and objectivity co-exist together (Heywood 2004). These factors will however depend on the economic, social and political conditions. In the ancient democracy, these factors were viewed differently as the economic, social and political factors were treated differently. It is also important to note that modern capitalism is closely associated with economic obligations and dependent on the political level. In capitalism the system of labor does not necessarily depend on civic or jurisdiction levels. According to Maddox (1985), it depends on the property of the employees which obligates them to trade their labor power for a payment for them to get a means of labor and survival. The employees are answerable to the capital power as well as to the requirements of competition and maximizing of income. Therefore, the division of civic level and class category within modern capitalists has two aspects: one is that the citizenship right is not established through socio-economic status, and hence formal democracy can coexist with capitalism. The other aspect is that civic equity does not impact class inequity directly, and also, within formal democracy, class exploitation is essentially intact (Held, 1987).
In the ancient Greek, it is also important to note that the system was not fair enough as it benefited some people while disadvantaging others. Those who were politically advantaged and juridical free were able to get into the market easily and access the provisions of labor and survival. Generally, civic freedom is different from the modern worker which is equalized by some economic obligations of capitalism. Rowe (1969) says that, in modern capitalism, the socio-economic status does not determine the citizenship right. In ancient democracy, civic status directly and intensely impacted relationships between classes unlike modern capitalism. A good example can be drawn from the separation of slaves and citizens within ancient democracy which means that economic class openly affected and determined citizenship (Heywood, 2004).
The ancient democracy had some principles, an example being that of democratic citizens in Athens being free on some economic issues. This is compared to the modern capitalists where some economic barriers are imposed. An example being the peasants freed of feudal compulsion. The direct producers being free of economic obligations meant that the politically represented property was still open to exploitation. This factor therefore portrays the importance of the citizens in the ancient Athens since they directly contributed the economy. This made the democracy become even more substantive (Naphtali & Meyer, 1951).
In ancient democracy, citizenship had substantial effects for villagers and craftsmen and, obviously, a change within the juridical level of slaves and actually women could change the society completely. Within feudalism, juridical freedom as well as political rights would not have been restructured without changing the existing social property relationships. On the other hand, in modern capitalism, it is possible to maintain the property relationships between labor and capital essentially intact and, at the same time, allow the democratization of both civic and political rights (Fukuyama, 1992).
It has however not been proved whether capitalism can truly pas the test of democracy. Capitalism led to the divisions between property, freedom, free labor, as well as absolute property-lessness. The ruling groupings of Europe were greatly concerned with the risks that the laboring crowd posed. At length, the perception was that the mere solution to this was preserving some form of separation between producers and rulers, between politically advantaged propertied leaders and disfranchised laboring crowd. Still, political rights were not freed when they were eventually given to the working people after long and strongly resisted renowned struggles (Sen, 1999).
The modern democracy has greatly changed from the ancient Greek democracy. Most of the concepts that defined democracy in the ancient time have since been replaced by new concepts (Heywood, 2000). In the United States of America, most of the old concepts were however useful in the formation of the new concepts of democracy. Despite these reforms, it is clear that most of the rights were not fully expanded as it may have other negative consequences. The political rights in the modern capitalism has however been faced by several challenges (McLuhan & Powers, 1992).
In conclusion, the attainment of modern democracy and universal suffrage from the ancient democracy obviously represented great historic development. However, it appeared that modern capitalism provided a new answer to the problem of producers and rulers present in the previous age. It is therefore evident that with modern democracy, it is possible to separate the political divisions from labor and ensure that the rules still exist in harmony. It is also possible for the economy to strive without necessarily having any political influence to the process. This is mainly because of the economic regulations can be used to run the economy. If the level of the citizen’s body could no longer be limited, the extent of citizenship can now be intently controlled, even without constitutional confines.