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First DemocracyThe Challenge of an Ancient Idea$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304541.001.0001

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The Life and Death of Democracy

The Life and Death of Democracy

(p.21) Chapter Two The Life and Death of Democracy
First Democracy

Paul Woodruff

Oxford University Press

Just like the life struggle of Demosthenes to promote democracy against the Macedonians, democracy is messy and never perfect. In a philosophical way, the democratic idea applies the flawed and human—to make it into a perfect utopia is to destroy it. This chapter discusses primitive democracy as it appeared in ancient Greek culture, in the midst of civilizations at war, including foreign conquerors and fellow city states. Athens, which upheld the early representation of democracy, did not fully implement the ideals of democracy. They promoted the people's citizenship which excluded slaves and women in the government system, valued peace and harmony, but ran the empire in tyranny. Democracy was officially lost at the time of the Macedonian Conquest, but despite its loss for many years, Athenians still continued to pursue it.

Keywords:   Demosthenes, Macedonians, primitive democracy, ancient Greek culture, city states, citizenship, tyranny, Macedonian Conquest

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