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The Decline and Rise of DemocracyA Global History from Antiquity to Today$
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David Stasavage

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691177465

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691177465.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Early Democracy Was Widespread

Early Democracy Was Widespread

(p.29) 2 Early Democracy Was Widespread
(p.iii) The Decline and Rise of Democracy

David Stasavage

Princeton University Press

This chapter begins with the democratic history of Athens. It explains how early democracy was more likely to flourish in small-scale settings, in instances where rulers lacked the coercive potential provided by a state bureaucracy, and when rulers found it difficult to monitor economic production and population movements. The chapter draws attention to ancient Mesopotamia during the third and second millennia BCE as one of the oldest examples of early democracy. It mentions the Danish Assyriologist named Thorkild Jacobsen who asserted that governance by assemblies was common in Mesopotamia before centralizing rulers destroyed this pattern. It also discusses debates about the ancient Indian republics that became colored by the colonial context.

Keywords:   democratic history, Athens, early democracy, ancient Mesopotamia, Thorkild Jacobsen

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