About The Book

Demopolis: Democracy before Liberalism in Theory and Practice

Before liberalism, what did democracy imply? What impact does this have on our lives today? This book recovers the essential meaning of democracy as communal and restricted self-government by citizens by combining history and political philosophy.

'Demopolis,' a hypothetical contemporary state vividly envisaged by award-winning historian and political scientist Josiah Ober, uses participatory self-government as the foundation of political activity. Residents of Demopolis strive to create a safe, affluent, and non-tyrannical city in which citizens rule collectively, both directly and through representatives, and gladly bear the expenses of self-government since it benefits them both collectively and individually.

About The Author

Josiah Ober


Josiah Ober is a professor at Stanford University in California, where he teaches classics, political science, and (by courtesy) philosophy. He has chaired a top-ranked humanities department under the classics department at Princeton University in New Jersey, as well as a top-ranked political science department at Stanford University. He has worked as a visiting lecturer in the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.


Ober received his education at the University of Minnesota (B.A., history major, 1975) and the University of Michigan (M.A., history major, 1975). (Ph.D., Department of History, 1980).

He was an ancient history professor at Montana State University from 1980 to 1990, and then at Princeton University from 1990 to 2006.


He is the author of many publications, including Political Dissent in Democratic Athens (2008), Democracy and Knowledge (2008), and The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece (2015). He's also written countless articles and chapters, with recent publications in the American Political Science Review, Philosophical Studies, Hesperia, Polis, and Transactions of the American Philological Association.


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