Considering the city-state of Athens and its interesting idea of a direct democracy (550 B.C.), I am comparing and contrasting the political activity of ancient Athenians and modern Americans. Americans in particular are some of the least politically active people in the world. Reading about Athens I have always wondered how the Athenians made it work.
So my question is, back in the city-state of Athens why were the citizens so politically active? Was it just because citizenship had to be earned instead of just being given? Was it because Athenian citizenship was hard to get? And not available to everyone (slaves, women, etc.)? It just seems to be that civic duty back then required so much more time and attention and somehow people did it. Today even the simplest things like voting once a year or being on a jury once a year is such a great burden and people try to get out of it as much as possible. What was so different back then? Thank you.