Robert A. Dahl – On Democracy

Democracy is not a new invention. During 600 C.E. to 1000 C.E. the Vikings hold meetings called Ting. There they settled disputes, discussed, accepted or rejected laws and even decided to change their religion (from the old Norse religion to Christianity). Later, they created a kind of supra-Ting, a National Assembly called Althing. Other historic examples of democratically ruled societies are the city-states of ancient Greece, ancient Rome (before the reign of Julius Caesar) and some Italian cities during the Middle Ages. But in which aspects do they differ from today’s democracy? What are the key elements of democracy and what challenges do they have to face?

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