Read the passage from a speech given by the Athenian leader Pericles.
Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to be imitated than imitators ourselves. Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences. . . . [C]lass considerations [are not] allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.
Pericles claimed that the Athenian government, unlike other Greek city-states,