The Evolution of Democracy


Code of Hammurabi

1750 B.C.
  • A collection of 282 laws
  • Hammurabi wanted to make justice visible in societies
  • Rules include assault, witnesses, accusations of crimes, family matters, etc.

Pericles' Funeral Oration

431 B.C.
  • A famous speech was given by the Athenian leader Pericles
  • Pericles explains his view on the value of democracy
  • 'A democracy is administered by many people and not just a few'

King John I - Magna Carta

  • An agreement between King John and a group of English barons
  • A response to years of the king's excessive taxation
  • 'Everybody, including the leader(s), obeyed the laws

Iroquois Confederacy Council

Approx. 1350
  • A council that formed hundreds of years ago in North America
  • Respect for diversity and belief that we treat equally
  • Ex. Particular respect for women and other cultures

John Locke - Two Treatises on Government

  • A criticism of Patriarcha, which supports rights of kings; Locke believes in the ability of every person to govern themselves
  • Laws for the protection and regulation of property
  • Laws only work because people accept them

Declaration of the Rights of Man

  • Recognizes rights of man and of citizens
  • Ex. 'People are born and remain free and equal in rights'

Amendment XV to the US Constitution

  • Granted African American man the right to vote
  • Declaring that the right of citizens to vote should not be denied ' on account of race, colour, or previous condition of servitude'

New Zealand - Election Act

  • New Zealand became the first country that granted women the right to vote in parliamentary elections
  • Massive petitions were presented to parliament

Military Voters Act

  • A World War I piece of Canadian legislation gave Canadian soldiers and their wives, widows, mothers and sisters the right to vote
  • It was initially an attempt to get more votes for the government

United Nations - Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • A declaration stating basic rights and freedoms to citizens
  • Everyone is entitled to all the rights, without distinction of race, color, sex, language, religion or opinions
  • Ex. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Aboriginals gain right to vote in Canada

  • Aboriginals were denied the right to vote because they did not meet property requirements
  • After granting the rights, Canada no longer denied voting rights to anyone based on racial or ethnic criteria

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

  • A bill of rights that forms the first part of the Constitution Act
  • Protects freedoms and rights and guarantees certain political rights to citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada