Democracy – Ancient and Modern

In The Principles of Representative Government (1997), Bernard Manin attempted to explain why Athenian (sortive) democracy was supplanted by election at the time of the birth of modern representative democracy. Many members of this forum have lamented this development and called for a return to classical democracy. In this post I would like to argue that sortition was only ever one element in Athenian democracy and that the other elements, if translated into a modern context, would of necessity be rather like the institutions that we currently bemoan. For analytic convenience I’ll deal with Athenian democratic practice under three categories:

  • One Man One Vote
  • Deliberative Scrutiny
  • Rule and Be Ruled In Turn

Continue reading