Explain how democracy developed in ancient athens by identifying the main protagonists, the democratic reforms, and the progress for democracy that the reforms represent: change in regime (birth of democracy) In 8th century ancient athens was an aristocracy. Social forces merchants, working class, and peasants fought for power: political change occurs when excluded groups decide they wish to be included. Peasants (small farmers) participated in military prior to the polis. If the peasants did not pay their debts to the aristocracy then they can be enslaved/imprisoned. Demand for political equality brought the aristocracy to compromise: aristocracy had to compromise in order to avoid a civil way. Civil war is the worst possible event which can happen to a political community. The compromise was to create a new political figures: legislature. What this reform represents for the progress of democracy: the birth of the polis and democracy itself.