27 April 2021

The Popes and Democracy - Part I. General Notions 7. The Origin of Democracy

Democracy is not a new thing; it is inherited from Greece and Rome. Some city-states in the Middle Ages had democratic constitutions and many Christian heresies were inspired by a misguided democratic outlook. It finally found its way into England where it began to acquire its modern form (see below). French philosophers brought it back from England in the 18th century and perfected its modern form, with special emphasis on emancipation from all authority which is not based on popular will, especially religious authority. During the Napoleonic wars, it spread from France all over Europe, and eventually throughout the world through colonisation. The English and American type of democracy was somewhat different from that practised on the continent, but it became increasingly influenced by the continental forms.

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