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Democracy's BeginningThe Athenian Story$
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Thomas N. Mitchell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300215038

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300215038.001.0001

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The Greek Polis

The Greek Polis

Cradle of Democracy

(p.7) Chapter 1 The Greek Polis
Democracy's Beginning

Thomas N. Mitchell

Yale University Press

This chapter points to the Greek polis, or city-state, as the point of origin for Greek democracy. The polis is the dominant form of political organization that developed in the Greek world between 800 and 500 B.C. By the end of the fifth century, there were over 800 of these city-states throughout the Greek world and, while many showed marked differences in their political structures and ideals, they all had many common characteristics and similarities of political culture, out of which emerged seminal political principles and ideals that became embedded in Western political thought and provided the bedrock of the democratic ideal.

Keywords:   polis, city-state, political organization, Greek democracy, political culture, Western political thought

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