Democracy is Born Cleisthenes introduces an early form of democratic government to Athens. 507 BCE Democracy is often linked to the reforms set up Cleisthenes to combat corruption in Athens. Prior reforms in Athens under Solon, and others, had taken steps in the direction of Cleisthenes? reforms, but most historians place the tipping point with Cleisthenes. Under Cleisthenes, the focus point of political life became the assembly, or ekklesia, where non-elected members of society could participate in direct democracy. Voting was primarily by show of hands with the voter required, obviously, to be present at the meeting. On more significant matters, voting was via the tossing of either a white stone or a black stone into an urn which was then shattered to allow the votes to be counted. Office holders were not elected, but rather chosen by lot, in an effort to keep the offices from being filled by the wealthy who could afford to campaign. Of the nearly 1200 officials that ran the Athenian government, only about 100 were elected, with the rest being chosen by lot. Cleisthenes called his reforms isonomia, equality in law, rather than demokratia, rule of the people, indicating that his primary focus was less on being completely representative of the people and more on seeing that all were treated fairly. This is obviously a very primitive form of democracy, but one see the beginnings of a government with responsibility toward the people. The effort is appreciated and certainly this laid the foundation for much of what we know today.