American Democracy Through Ancient Greek Eyes

Barry Strauss looks at the contrasts and similarities between the city-states and the 'land of the free'.

Two thousand five hundred years after the founding of democracy in Athens, the United States of America is a larger, wealthier, and more powerful democracy than any Athenian could have imagined. But would an Athenian indeed consider America to be a democracy? If he could be restored to life and brought to Washington DC, would an Athenian visitor feel at home, even among the marble columns and the neo-classical façades? Would he judge the American government to embody 'the power of the people', as did Athens' demokratia (a compound of demos, 'people', and kratos, 'power')?

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.