The Influence of the Greeks on American Democracy "Tyranny is the rule of one man to the advantage of the ruler, oligarchy to the advantage of the rich, democracy to the advantage of the poor." -Aristotle Democracy: a form of government that makes political decisions directly exercised by the whole body of citizens, under procedures of majority rule. This type of democracy is know as a direct democracy, however the form of government that citizens exercise the same right not in person but through elected representatives is known as a representative democracy. Today in the United States of America we have a representative democracy in which we appoint "representatives" through election. The founders of democracy in Athens exercised decisions through a direct democracy in which all male citizens were allowed to have direct influence on the decisions. Although in the United States today we accept democracy as a form of life it had its early beginnings in the city-states of Ancient Greece. The form of government known as democracy had its early roots in Ancient Greece but its influence has a direct connection with the type of government we have today in the United States. The Greek city-states of antiquity did not always live a lifestyle with the cooperation of democracy. The civilizations of Greece passed through many stages of government. In the 8th and 7th centuries the government was known as an oligarchy. An oligarchy is the rule of the city-state by a selected few usually consisting of wealthy landowners. These representatives made decisions based on their own ideals without the consideration of the people. Decisions were made not with the interest of the majority but with the interests of the few. Since the oligarchy was primarily run by wealthy landowners, the interests of the poor were often ignored. However, tensions began to arise between these wealthy landowners which left the majority of the public in a state of discontent and fury.