Solon: Economic and Political Reforms in Athens – History Essay
In 594 B.C., Athens was at the brink of revolution. The severe social tensions between the peasants and the aristocrats were tearing Athens apart. Desperate for a solution a group of learned citizens in Athens became
to look towards Solon to solve this problem. Not being involved with politics at all at this time was thought of as a perfect man to settle this rising problem. Solon was reluctant to enter politics, but was chosen as archon. He was respected by both the rich and the poor alike. Solon was coerced by many to grab for absolute power and rule Athens like those before him, but he had a different idea. Solon made immediate and long-term economic reforms, abolishing all debts (for which he faced a great deal of opposition)and creating a law that only oil could be exported. Solon also made huge political changes. He had done something that no other ruler had other done, he distributed the power of the government not only to the aristocrats, but to the public as well.
Solon’s effect on Athens was huge. He transformed Athens from a city-state divided by class, suffering economically and corrupt politically into a city-state where the classes began to function in harmony. Because of his revisions of economics in Athens a middle-class developed, bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. This new class was extrememly productive and helped bring a great deal of wealth to Athens. In addition to this Solon revolutionized politics not only for Athens, but for all of history. The formation of a representative government not only saved Athens, but would go on to become the most popular form of government, completely changing history.