Chapter

Introduction

Loren J. Samons II

in What's Wrong with Democracy?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236608
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940901 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520236608.003.0001
Introduction

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This book presents the criticism of modern democracy. It aims to emphasize that the criticism of, and not simply “debate about” or a “discourse concerning” democracy is meant. Athenian democracy has been presented to contemporary Americans as a resource for improving, or at least an ideological sister of, modern representative constitutional government. It also addresses what happened in Athens that could have led to the views expressed by Plato, Thucydides, and Aristophanes, given these authors' predispositions and historical circumstances. Without a strong set of nonpolitical values, modern America may run risks that the Athenians never confronted. Athens' power and prosperity and its increasingly radical democratic government ultimately helped bring on the devastating Peloponnesian War and then encouraged its continuation for twenty-seven years.

Keywords: Athenian democracy; Athens; Plato; Thucydides; Aristophanes; Peloponnesian War; modern America

Chapter.  7005 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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