The word democracy comes from two Greek words: the first is a noun, "demos," which means "people," and the second is a verb, "kratein," which means "to rule." Its basic meaning is "government by the people" or "ruled by the ruled." Its derivation refers back to ancient Greece, more precisely, the 5th century city-state of Athens, the author and first practitioner of democracy. As for the 4,000 years before that time, the world lived under forms of government other than democratic. Then, for the next 2,500 years, democracy has existed as a theory and actual system of government, with varying degrees of consistency between theory and practice. But all this began in the middle of the 5th century before Christ in Athens.
In the year 600 B.C., during which time Lycurgus was working to reform the legal system of Spartan government, a political crisis was developing in the Athenian city-state. The farmers and suppliers of Athens were falling behind in their production rates because the population of Athens had grown too quickly. This forced the farmers into bankruptcy as they were forced to trade their land for more food until they ran out of land. Fortunately, when Solon was given control over the... [continues]
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