In ancient Athens, ostracism was the process by which any citizen, including political leaders, could be expelled from the city-state for 10 years.

Once a year, ancient Athenian citizens would nominate people they felt threatened democracy—because of political differences, dishonesty, or just general dislike. Today, although we can vote politicians out of office, we can’t exactly banish them from politics for a decade. Do you think ostracism would work in a democracy today? Would you vote to ostracize someone? Why?

ancient Greece
Noun

loosely united civilization founded on and around the Peloponnese peninsula, lasting from about the 8th century BCE to about 200 BCE.

ballot
Noun

technology (such as a slip of paper or an electronic form) by which a voter casts their vote.

democracy
Noun

system of organization or government where the people decide policies or elect representatives to do so.

election
Noun

selection of people to public office by vote.

ostracize
Verb

to exclude a person, by general consent, from a society or group

politician
Noun

person who serves as a representative of the citizens of a geographic area to the local, state, or national government.