Events, Laws, and People that Contributed to Modern Democratic Thought

Timeline created by kEvans2
  • -510 BCE

    Ancient Greece

    Ancient Greece
    The idea in American Democracy that power comes from the consent of the governed is associated with democratic principles in Ancient Greece, which began to become democratic in 510 BCE.
  • -500 BCE

    Ancient Roman Empire

    Ancient Roman Empire
    The Ancient Roman Empire serves as one of the earliest examples of representative democracy, as citizens were allowed to vote for some of their representatives.
  • 1100


    The idea of a split between central and provincial government comes from the Iroquois, a group of Native American tribes who formed an alliance to work towards common goals, but also retained separate power among the different tribes.
  • 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    The Magna Carta established a rule by law in England, enforcing that the king followed a set of laws when dealing with his subjects. This document was one of the first that made governments accountable to a set of law.
  • Petition of Right

    Petition of Right
    The petition of right established specific liberties that the king was prohibited from infringing in England.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    The English Bill of Rights, created in 1689, established the separation of powers, limited powers of the king and queen, enhanced democratic election, and bolstered freedom of speech. Many of these principles can be seen today in American Democracy.
  • John Locke

    John Locke
    in 1689, John Locke wrote about the natural right every human being was entitled to. These ideas about human rights still influence the way we think about them today.
  • Montesquieu

    Montesquieu, in 1748, wrote that check and balances must be present in government to prevent one branch from becoming too powerful. The founding fathers of America were greatly influenced by his ideas.
  • Thomas Paine

    Thomas Paine
    Thomas Paine published two influential works, Common Sense and Rights of Man that influenced and inspired the American Revolution. This, in turn, led to the formation of the U.S. on democratic principles.