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How Did We Get Here?: Democracy

May 16 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm MDT

Conversation Details

“…democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill

Is democracy new or old? Does it deserve the reverence that modern Western society has ascribed to it? How did we get to where it is the form of government par excellence? 

In this evening’s program, we’ll look at the evolution of the modern concept of democracy. We’ll explore how a bunch of borderline outlaws in three different countries addressed the fundamental stumbling blocks that held back the ancient world from embracing democracy as a form of government.

In doing so, we’ll trace the strands of democracy from early modern times to the present, including how different groups approached practical matters. We will trace their solutions to the present day and see how those solutions continue to shape the discourse of the modern world. We’ll reflect on the current challenges to “democracy.”  We’ll also address how members of the community can put theory into practice and keep democracy healthy.


When & Where

This Merlin short led by Stephen Forrest, Professor of Political Science, will take place in the Conference Center in Reeder’s Alley on Thursday, May 16th.

Workshop Details

Date: Thursday, May 16th 
Time: 6:30pm – 8pm MT (Doors open at 6:15pm)
Where: 101 Reeder’s Alley (Conference Center)

Registration Info

RSVP: Yes, I want to come!
Cost: Free (Donations appreciated)
Other: Hot tea & light snacks provided. BYOB.

How Did We Get Here?: Democracy

An exploration of the history of ideas

Conversation Leader

Stephen Forrest is the Programs Practice Director at Public Knowledge®, an international consulting firm, and serves on the political science faculty at Carroll College. He holds doctorates from the University of Oxford and Oklahoma State University, a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from the Quantic Institute.

Stephen has published and presented in education, history, and business, including on the Intersections of adult education and democracy and co-editing Constructing and Reconstructing the Past: The Writing of Irish History since 1600. He has taught classes on Government, History, Education, Geography, Archaeology, and the Humanities.

When not working, Stephen enjoys making mead and cider or fixing and creating things via woodworking and welding around his Helena home or the family ranch.

Program Sponsors & Community Partners


Make a Donation Here

Our philosophy shorts and other activities are FREE to the community. While donations are never expected, they are always appreciated and help to keep programs like these going. Your tax-deductible donations help to cover honorariums, logistics, materials, implementation, resource archiving, and more! For those facing more challenging financial circumstances, we ask that you please try to “pay it forward” with acts of kindness for your neighbors and community.


Reeder’s Alley Interpretive & Convention Center
101 Reeder's Alley
Helena, MT 59601 United States
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Marisa Diaz-Waian
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