Cleisthenes

Who is the father of democracy? Not Thomas Jefferson as many may think.. it was in fact the little known, Cleisthenes. He first introduced democracy to the Greek city states (undoubtedly following some of the principles set forth by Solon) in 508 b.c., after he gained political power in Athens from 508 to 502 b.c., he began to develop a series of major reforms, leading to the formation of the Athenian Democracy. He made all free men living in Athens and Attica citizens, giving them the right to vote as part of a democratic society. He also established a council (boule).

All citizens over the age of 30, were eligible to sit on the council, encouraging public involvement in the government. While the format may not be the same as many democracies around the world today, there’s no doubt this was the first step.

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