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Greek Origins, After The Polis, Age Of Enlightenment And Revolution, Threat And Promise Of Mass Democracy

Democracy, a direct translation of the Greek dēmokratia, means rule (kratos) by the people (dēmos). Both as a political idea, and as a political institution, democracy originated in the thought and practice of the ancient Greeks. They understood democracy literally: the people, deliberating and acting together in an assembly, was both sovereign and legislator. The people was not only the source of legitimate authority, but also the wielder of political power. In modern times the role of the people is limited to the legitimation of political authority, and power is wielded by elected representative assemblies.

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