Thursday, March 29, 2007

Further Follow Up

Further now to my original follow up post:

Nick was kind enough to lend me Tom Holland's Persian Fire. It had quite an interesting account of the origin of Athenian democracy (pp.128-41). I still haven't got a clear overall timeline of the period, but it seems democracy evolved before Athen's naval power - which was engineered by Themistocles. Nonetheless, this doesn't invalidate my conjecture. The people were capable to standing up for themselves, and did so to secure the freedoms promised by Cleisthenes. Further, it is clear that aristocrats weren't too keen on naval developments, which seemed to threaten to maintain and even extend the importance of the demos.

I also got hold of Linda Colley's Britons. The reference to Bamford is on p.318, and her reference leads me to Life of a Radical page 19. Again, slightly unfortunately, there's little if any sign of the justification I want - it seems militia lists are justified as a practical record. However, there's no objection that, for example, they don't include women - it seems implicit that men who fight are the relevant voters. Further Colley goes on to cite William Cobbett, who does argue that the labourers of Britain are both responsible for its wealth and defence. It's not clear from what she quotes, but she writes (still p.318) "if all adult men were worthy to fight for Great Britain, then surely they had the right to take part in its politics as well? Cobbett certainly thought so".

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