The Athenian constitution was oligarchical, in every respect. They cultivated the lands of the rich and paid rent.The whole country was in the hands of nine magistrates, called archons, who were elected according to qualifications of birth and wealth.
What is likely required for the masses of people, as we see in "modern" world societies, is an established system of government.
Where there is a need for an established system of government, it will likely naturally come about; and do so, whether, or not, it has the consent of the people, -- real or imagined.
The best of the thinkers saw a process, -- call it democracy -- by which groups might bloodlessly choose a leader.
That each of the governed should have a say, or least an opportunity to have a say, is a high flying ideal; but any system by which the peace is kept is an admirable system and democracy, such as it has evolved, has proven, in many cases, to be just such a system.
Democracy is a tender topic for a writer: like motherhood and apple pie it is not to be criticized.
One will risk being roundly condemned if he, or she, points out the serious bottleneck that is presented when a community attempts, through the democratic process, to set plans for positive social action.Putting aside, for the moment, the arguments of Hobbes and Locke, I believe, on the basis of plain historical fact, that governments come about naturally and maintain themselves naturally without the general will of the people; indeed, I believe, with many others I suspect, that our long established democratic governments in the world (the United States and Canada being among them) did not come about by the general will of the people, at all; nor is it necessary that it should it be maintained by the will of the people.3 One should not conclude, therefore, that democracy is necessary for good government: It may not be.What is necessary for optimum prosperity is a state of acquiescence, which, as it happens, is the hallmark of western democracies.From history we can see that this is the usual way by which power is gained, and maintained.However, it has long been understood that people might come together and explicitly agree to put someone in power.To render the selection less than wholly accidental, all those upon whom the lot falls are subjected, before taking up their duties, to a rigorous dokimasia, or character examination, conducted by the Council or the courts.The candidate must show Athenian parentage on both sides, freedom from physical defect and scandal, the pious honoring of his ancestors, the performance of his military assignments, and the full payment of his taxes; his whole life is on this occasion exposed to challenge by any citizen, and the prospect of such a scrutiny presumably frightens the most worthless from the sortition.These ruling magistrates held their positions for life, except for that latter period when they served for a term of ten years.In time, this Greek notion of democracy was set aside in favour of the draw. the method of election in the choice of archons is replaced by lot; some way must be found to keep the rich from buying, or the knaves from smiling, their way into office.A man is not permitted to hesitate about its merits, without the suspicion of being a friend to tyranny, that is, of being a foe to mankind?2 The notions of government and of democracy are independent notions and do not, from what I can see, depend on one another.