A few centuries ago it was pretty much taken for granted among political thinkers that democracy – that is, government by the people, as opposed to government by kings or nobles – could not long survive. This belief was based on a study of ancient democracies. Some of these ancient democracies had short but brilliant live, e.g., Athens. At first they were vibrant, creative, and prosperous. Then they got fat and lazy. Finally they were taken over by a foreign power or by a home-grown tyrant.
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