>>2730203>And why did it take so long — 2,000 years! — until another nation (the USA) adopted it?
Almost every medieval western european city in the continent was ruled by some form of democracy. Particularly in the HRE and Italy, but also in cities in France and England who had no overlord.
First of all you were a citizen. You were different from a rural feudalcucked peasant in terms of rights. Sure you were a subject of a king but locally you owe nobody save a corporation: the city you were born in.
Second your government isn't led by a lord- its by the mayor or burgomeister, that guy is an elected official, elected from the city council which is the council made up of all the leading men, urban nobles, guild leaders.
Third, said leading men are often elected, especially among the guilds. This is how you participate in politics since your trade tends to belong to a guild and you aired what you wanted in guild meetings. Otherwise if not then you could attend meetings with your district representative, who also attends city council.
Hell since you have no feudal lord, you're even responsible for your own defense. The city mandates that as a requirement for citizenship, you should have weapons and armor and should spend a term as a militiaman: usually drilling and patrolling the city as a policeman of sorts. You guys are organized either in neighborhood, guild, or social class, and you either bought your own weapons, or your guild/neighborhood pooled money to buy everyone's gear. In wartime you guys are responsible for your own defense and could be called by the King for his army in an offensive campaign.
There's a reason why modern democracy borrows heavily on civic government terms (i.e. citizenship)