The History and Definition of Democracy

742 WordsFeb 20, 20183 Pages
According to the Oxford dictionary online democracy is defined as, "A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives" (Oxford, 2014). In other words the population of a nation or land participates in the government. This participation is typically done by elections. Democracy has changed throughout history. In the past the population is the government; today most often the people will appoint individuals to represent them. Each of these styles of government has an unique way of dividing up the power between the electors and the elected. The models of democracy may be different but the conditions needed to obtain democracy are the same; how those conditions are acquired is debated. Ancient Athens in the fifth century B.C. is recognized as the first democracy (Gascoigne, B., 2014, p. 1). The democracy model in Athens was different than the modern democracy in countries such as America. All free males gathered to discuss what business needed to be done; Slaves, women, and children were excluded from participating in the government. The electorate voted by either a show of hands or by casting a ballot (Hansen, M. H., 1977, p. 1). The power was held by the entire voting population not the elected officials. In this way when an official did something that went against the desires of those who elected him, he could be removed easily. Elected officials could not exercise more power than what was

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