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First Democracy – The Challenge of an Ancient Idea - Oxford Scholarship Online
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First Democracy: The Challenge of an Ancient Idea

Paul Woodruff


Americans have an unwavering faith in democracy and are ever eager to import it to nations around the world. But how democratic is our own “democracy”? If you can vote, if the majority rules, if you have elected representatives—does this automatically mean that you have a democracy? In this eye-opening look at an ideal that we all take for granted, this book offers some surprising answers to these questions. Drawing on classical literature, philosophy, and history—with many intriguing passages from Sophocles, Aesop, and Plato, among others—the book enters the world of ancient Athens to uncover ... More

Keywords: democracy, majority rule, freedom from tyranny, harmony, rule of law, natural equality, citizen wisdom, reasoning without knowing, general education, citizenship

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780195304541
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304541.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Paul Woodruff, author
University of Texas at Austin
Author Webpage