Written with remarkable erudition and clarity, this text is the most comprehensive introduction to democracy available in a single volume. Tocquevillian in its scope and historical-philosophical in its orientation, Democracy traces popular government from its classical origins through the authoritarian and totalitarian backlash of the twentieth century. Unified by the theme of democracy as autonomy—communal, plural, and individual—the study examines democratic government and politics in normative, institutional, and procedural terms.Students of democracy will find this book especially valuable for its account of the democratic ideal as a concept in the history of political thought, ranging from Athenian direct democracy and Roman republicanism to liberal democracy. Showing the interplay of theory and practice, Lakoff analyzes the character of modern democracy, or “compound autonomy,” as expressed in voting and electoral systems, federalism, and efforts of democratization around the world. His synthesis leads to the conclusion that although democracy is neither perfect nor inevitable, it is humanity’s best hope.