If democracy is contaminated by poisonous elements its therapeutic power largely evaporates. Most of the democracies, in fact, have..... been of this low-grade, contaminated variety. Beginning with the Athenian democracy and ending with the Dutch, the English, the French, the Belgian, and even the United States democracy before the abolition of slavery, each of these systems was actually a small oligarchy built upon a vast stratum of slaves, serfs, and exploited, disfranchised, and autocratically ruled colonial Helots. Some twenty thousand Athenians constituted an oligarchic minority superimposed on several hundreds of thousands of unfree or semi-free persons deprived of practically all political and most civil rights. Some thirty to forty millions of English citizens formed a small oligarchy superimposed upon approximately three hundred million disfranchised colonials. The same is true of some six millions of Dutch citizens compared with approximately sixty million colonial semi-serfs; and so on. Similarly, virtually all the democracies of history have been vitiated by many other elements incompatible with the essence of genuine democracy.