The Athenian constitution was oligarchical, in every respect. They cultivated the lands of the rich and paid rent.
The whole country was in the hands of nine magistrates, called archons, who were elected according to qualifications of birth and wealth.
The best of the thinkers saw a process, -- call it democracy -- by which groups might bloodlessly choose a leader.
That each of the governed should have a say, or least an opportunity to have a say, is a high flying ideal; but any system by which the peace is kept is an admirable system and democracy, such as it has evolved, has proven, in many cases, to be just such a system.
"At the end of his term all his official acts, accounts, and documents" are reviewed by a special board, logistai, which is responsible to the Council.
"Severe penalties, even death, may avenge serious misconduct." Grecian democracy, however, such as it was, was soon covered over with the murk of the middle ages.[TOC] Out of the Dark Ages, in gradual awaking stirs, came the Age of Reason.The enlightenment was fully established and growing vigorously by the eighteenth century.A man is not permitted to hesitate about its merits, without the suspicion of being a friend to tyranny, that is, of being a foe to mankind?2 The notions of government and of democracy are independent notions and do not, from what I can see, depend on one another.It was a spontaneous and defused movement which fed on itself and led to the great scientific discoveries from which we all benefit today.Beliefs in natural law and universal order sprung up, which not only promoted scientific findings and advancements of a material nature; but, which, also drove the great political thinkers of the time, such as: Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733), Charles Louis de Secondat Montesquieu (1689-1755), Voltaire (1694-1766), Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-88), David Hume (1711-76) and, of course the brightest political light of all, John Locke (1632-1704).A precise definition of democracy might be had by consulting the OED.Democracy is government by the people; a form of government in which the sovereign power resides in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them (as in the small republics of antiquity) or by officers elected by them.These ruling magistrates held their positions for life, except for that latter period when they served for a term of ten years.In time, this Greek notion of democracy was set aside in favour of the draw. the method of election in the choice of archons is replaced by lot; some way must be found to keep the rich from buying, or the knaves from smiling, their way into office.