A democratic government is basically defined as a government where all people have an equal say in the decision making processes. As Abraham Lincoln so elegantly put it, democracy is “government of the people by the people for the people.” There are many types of democracy, but many countries, including the United States, now use one form of this system of government. Although democracy has been around since approximately 500 BC, it wasn’t until the 20th century that it began to be adopted by numerous countries. Let’s take a look at the first country to use this system of government.
The first democracy in history
It is widely believed that the first stable democracy began in the Ancient Greek city of Athens, and surrounding areas, in about 508 BC. At that time Greece wasn’t a single countries, but a collection of separate cities. Unlike most of today’s democratic systems where the people elect a representative to vote on their behalf, this system allowed every eligible person to vote on legislation and bills. This is known as direct democracy and is not widely used today.
The person credited with introducing democracy into Athens is Cleisthenes. At the time most Greek cities were ruled by the few richest people. Cleisthenes removed this power from the nobles in Athens and reformed the constitution to create the first democracy. In the late 460s Ephialtes and Pericles shifted the power even further to include the poorest of people. By the 4th Century BC hundreds of Greek cities were using the democratic system.