DiscoverSean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas126 | David Stasavage on the Origin and History of Democracy
126 | David Stasavage on the Origin and History of Democracy

126 | David Stasavage on the Origin and History of Democracy

Update: 2020-12-07
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Those of us living in democracies tend to take the idea for granted. We forget what an audacious, radical idea it is to put government power into the hands of literally all of the citizens of a country. Where did such an idea come from, and where is it going? Political scientist David Stasavage has written an ambitious history of democracy worldwide, in which he makes a number of unconventional points. The roots of democracy go much further back than we often think; the idea wasn’t invented in Athens, but can be found in a large number of ancient societies. And the resurgence of democracy in Europe wasn’t because that continent was especially advanced, but precisely the opposite. These insights have implications for what the future of democracy has in store.

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David Stasavage received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University. He is currently Dean for the Social Sciences and the Julius Silver Professor in the Department of Politics at New York University and an Affiliated Professor in NYU’s School of Law. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most recent book is The Decline and Rise of Democracy: A Global History from Antiquity to Today.


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126 | David Stasavage on the Origin and History of Democracy

126 | David Stasavage on the Origin and History of Democracy