An introduction to the history of true democracy

The Worst Form of Government The History of Democracy from Beginning to End Democracy is the worst form of Government - except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Not only did most governments deliberately and shamelessly keep power away from their people, even the self-proclaimed international defenders of democracy were just as likely to support friendly dictators as unpredictable democracies in other countries. Nowadays, most countries at least pretend to have competitive elections, a free press and a respect for the opinions of citizens.

An introduction to the history of true democracy

The Acropolis of Athens by Leo von Klenze. Athens is often regarded [i] as the birthplace of democracy and remains an important reference-point for democracy. Athens emerged in the 7th century BCE, like many other poleiswith a dominating powerful aristocracy.

These problems exacerbated early in the 6th century; and, as "the many were enslaved to few, the people rose against the notables". This included Sparta in the second half of the 7th century BCE.

The constitutional reforms implemented by Lycurgus in Sparta introduced a hoplite state that showed, in turn, how inherited governments can be changed and lead to military victory.

As the Rhetra did in Lycurgian Sparta, Solon formalized the composition and functions of the governmental bodies. All citizens gained the right to attend the Ecclesia Assembly and to vote.

The Ecclesia became, in principle, the sovereign body, entitled to pass laws and decrees, elect officials, and hear appeals from the most important decisions of the courts.

An introduction to the history of true democracy

The higher governmental posts, those of the archons magistrateswere reserved for citizens of the top two income groups. The retired archons became members of the Areopagus Council of the Hill of Areswhich like the Gerousia in Sparta, was able to check improper actions of the newly powerful Ecclesia.

Solon created a mixed timocratic and democratic system of institutions. The constitutional reforms eliminated enslavement of Athenians by Athenians, established rules for legal redress against over-reaching aristocratic archons, and assigned political privileges on the basis of productive wealth rather than of noble birth.

Some of Solon's reforms failed in the short term, yet he is often[ quantify ] credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy.

CleisthenesEphialtesand Pericles The Pnyx with the speaker's platform, the meeting place of the people of Athens Even though the Solonian reorganization of the constitution improved the economic position of the Athenian lower classes, it did not eliminate the bitter aristocratic contentions for control of the archonship, the chief executive post.

His sons Hippias and Hipparchus succeeded him. In the late s, Ephialtes and Pericles presided over a radicalization of power that shifted the balance decisively to the poorest sections of society, by passing laws which severely limited the powers of the Council of the Areopagus and allowed thetes Athenians without wealth to occupy public office.

If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.

Introduction to Democracy

The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek original from ca.

The Athenian democracy of Cleisthenes and Pericles was based on freedom of citizens through the reforms of Solon and on equality of citizens isonomia - introduced by Cleisthenes and later expanded by Ephialtes and Pericles. To preserve these principles, the Athenians used lot for selecting officials.

Casting lots aimed to ensure that all citizens were "equally" qualified for office, and to avoid any corruption allotment machines were used.

An introduction to the history of true democracy

The courts had unlimited power to control the other bodies of the government and its political leaders. The only officials chosen by elections, one from each tribe, were the strategoi generalswhere military knowledge was required, and the treasurers, who had to be wealthy, since any funds revealed to have been embezzled were recovered from a treasurer's private fortune.

Debate was open to all present and decisions in all matters of policy were taken by majority vote in the Ecclesia compare direct democracyin which all male citizens could participate in some cases with a quorum of The decisions taken in the Ecclesia were executed by the Boule ofwhich had already approved the agenda for the Ecclesia.

The Athenian Boule was elected by lot every year [58] and no citizen could serve more than twice. SocratesPlatoand Aristotle Within the Athenian democratic environment, many philosophers from all over the Greek world gathered to develop their theories.

Aristotle — BCE continued the work of his teacher, Plato, and laid the foundations of political philosophy. The political philosophy developed in Athens was, in the words of Peter Hall, "in a form so complete that hardly added anyone of moment to it for over a millennium". For Aristotle, the underlying principles of democracy are reflected in his work Politics:Inclusive democracy is a political theory and political project that aims for direct democracy in all fields of social life: political democracy in the form of face-to-face assemblies which are confederated, economic democracy in a stateless, moneyless and marketless economy, democracy in the social realm, i.e.

self-management in places of . - Democracy in America By: Alexis De Tocqueville Democracy in America, by Alexis De Tocqueville is a book about how the American States and the federal government would grow politically and socially under the umbrella of democracy.

The Worst Form of Government The History of Democracy from Beginning to End by Matthew White. Democracy is the worst form of Government - except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. A direct democracy can be defined as a form of government in which the people decide matters directly, with prime example the Athenian democracy.

A democratic republic, is a form of government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and . of American essayist E.B.

White: Democracy is the Characteristics of Democracy Some local jurisdictions in the United States still practice a form of direct democracy, as in this town meeting in Harwick, Vermont.

Schools and taxes tend to be popular issues. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. movies All Video latest This Just In Prelinger Archives Democracy Now! Occupy Wall Street TV NSA Clip Library. Democracy and education: an introduction to the philosophy of education.

by Dewey, John,

Democracy - Wikipedia