democracy spoiled by demagoguery and the rule of passion over reason

Ochlocracy (Greek: οχλοκρατία; Latin: ochlocratia) is government by mob or a disorganized mass of people. Ochlocracy is also used as a pejorative term for democracy and more specifically, majoritarianism.


  • Members of the oligarchy curry popularity with the mob (ὄχλος), as the Civic Guards at Larisa courted popularity with the mob because it elected them.
    • Aristotle, Politics trans. by H. Rackham, Loeb Classical Library, BkV v 5; 1305b25-30; Vol 264 pp. 404-405.
  • In putting no trust in the multitude (which is why they resort to the measure of stripping the people of arms, and why ill-treatment of the mob and its expulsion from the city and settlement in scattered places is common to both forms of government, both oligarchy and tyranny.
    • Aristotle, Politics, trans. by H. Rackham, Loeb Classical Library, BkV viii 7; 1311a 10; Vol 264, pp. 442-443.
  • Ochlocratia, such a state, as in which the rude and rusticall people moderate all thinges after their own luste.
  • We will not carry on any further our picture of the ochlocracy, in which all social union was entirely dissolved, and the state surrendered to the arbitrary will of a turbelent populace.
    • Karl Otfried Müller, The History and Antiquities of the Doric Race 2nd ed. rev., John Murray, Albemarle Str. London, 1839. Vol II, pg 10.
  • The commonest of the old charges against democracy was that it passed into ochlocracy.
    • Amer. Commw., Bryce, III. v. xcv. 337. year: 1888. OED.
  • Our motto must be: liberty, fraternity and inequality. Democracy must never degenerate into ochlocracy.
    • Sir Charles Waldstein, Aristodemocracy, From the Great War back to Moses, Christ and Plato, An essay, Longmans, Green and Co., NY, 1917. p. 327.
  • Ochlocracy, the dictatorship of the mob, is the goal toward which the development of the mass-democracy of Caesarism is leading.
  • Ochlocracy (even more so than aristocracy) is based upon change and instability; ochlocracy is revolution in permanence.

See also

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