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Timeline of Democracy

By staffa
  • 200

    Democracy in Athens

    Democracy in Athens
    Early in the 5th century BC the citizens of Rome, by a programme of passive disobedience, win the right to elect their own officials - the Tribunes. Two centuries later, in 287 BC, the decisions of the people's assembly are technically given the status of law. This carries on quite well until Rome changes from a republic to an empire. Not everyone was able to vote, only males eighteen years or older and a son to an Athenian father were eligible to vote. Women and slaves were excluded
  • Jan 1, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    In 1215 AD, the Magna Carta opened the door to a more democratic system in England. Nobles forced King John to sign this "Great Charter" that created the English "Parliament", or law-making body, and stated that the written laws held a higher power than the king, thereby limiting the power of the Royal family and giving some of that power to the people.
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    The Petition of Right sets out specific liberties of the subject that the king is prohibited from infringing. The Petition contains restrictions on non-Parliamentary taxation, forced billeting of soldiers, imprisonent without cause, and restricts the use of martial law.
  • Bill of Rights

    Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights is an Act of the Parliament of England. It lays down limits on the powers of sovereign and sets out the rights of Parliament and rules for freedom of speech in Parliament, the requirement to regular elections to Parliament and the right to petition the monarch without fear of retribution.
  • Declaration of Independance

    Declaration of Independance
    The American Revolution is another important event in the history of democracy. The first step, of course, in America’s pursuit of democracy was the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In this great document, written by Thomas Jefferson, many ideas are taken from the aforementioned philosophers, Locke and Rousseau. From Locke, Jefferson borrowed the idea that all men are created equal, and he altered the right to life, liberty and property to "the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happi
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man Part 2

    Declaration of the Rights of Man Part 2
    These ideas, like the ones in the American Declaration of Independence, lended themselves to a partially democratic system where the powers of the king are limited and the people have some say in their government
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man Part 1

    Declaration of the Rights of Man Part 1
    The French Revolution was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a major impact on France and indeed all of Europe. From this political upheavlal came the Delcaration of the Rights of Man which changed the right to life, liberty and property to the right to "liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression."
  • The Great Reform Act

    The Great Reform Act
    British parliamentary act that expanded the electorate. It transferred voting privileges from the small rural boroughs controlled by the nobility and gentry to the heavily populated but underrepresented industrial towns. Conceived by Prime Minister Earl Grey and introduced by Earl Russell, it passed in the House of Commons three times but was opposed by the House of Lords until Grey's threat to create 50 new liberal peers (enough to carry the bill) did they finally agree
  • Woman Sufferage

    Woman Sufferage
    Until the mid nineteenth century the idea of woman voting had occurred to very few men and even fewer woman, but after many rallying (with the ones in Britain being more violent than others) and after the events of World War 1 which showed women as nurses on the front lines and in factories, women were given the go ahead to vote in the USA in 1913 and in UK in 1918.In the UK only those aged 30 and met the property requirement could vote. In 1928 this was relaxed to just women over the age of 21.
  • Current Day Democracy

  • The Scandinavian Thing - Part 1

    The Scandinavian Thing - Part 1
    in Scandinavia, there is an interesting example of a kind of a democracy more common among very small and primitive communities. It takes place in a thing.
    A thing is a meeting of all the free men of a communitiy (several communities coming together for a joint meeting on larger issues constitute an all-thing). The function of these democratic gatherings is limited, for they are legislative rather than political. The free men gather either to affirm or to amend the existing state of tribal law.
  • The Scandinavian Thing - Part 2

    The Scandinavian Thing - Part 2
    The free men gather either to affirm or to amend the existing state of the tribal law, which is expounded to them by experts in the matter. In a pre-literate society this is in a sense a communalaide-mémoire, but it also enables the group to assess its own response to any new situation. The ancient tradition of the thing is echoed today in the names of the parliaments of Iceland (Althing), Norway (Storting) and Denmark (Folketing).