Democracy and Demagogues: Election, Voting, and Qualifications for Citizenship

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:
Democracy and Demagogues: Election, Voting, and Qualifications for Citizenship

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This chapter aims to investigate the modern democratic faith in election, voting, and low qualifications for citizenship. The removal of property qualifications for citizenship in Athens does not indicate that the Athenians set no standards for participation in the sociopolitical life of the polis. The citizens of Athens continued to perform public and private duties and meet standards of personal conduct in exchange for their citizenship throughout classical Athenian history. Pericles' career demonstrates his ability to sell his conception of Athens to the demos. The modern emphasis on voting as the fundamental act of modern democracy betrays a significant difference between the conception of democratic citizens' duties and that of the Athenians. The character of that electorate, and not the particular form of government, will always be the central “political” issue facing any people that rely on the vote.

Keywords: election; voting; qualifications; citizenship; modern democracy; Athens; Pericles; demagogues

Chapter.  13799 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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