There are people who will say that democracy is neither an intelligent nor a fair system, and that those who have the money are also the best rulers. But I say, first, that what is meant by the demos, or people, is the whole State, whereas an oligarchy is only a section of the State; and I say next that though the rich are the best people for looking after money, the best counsellors are the intelligent, and that it is the many who are best at listening to the different arguments and judging between them. And all alike, whether taken all together or as separate classes, have equal rights in a democracy. An oligarchy, on the other hand, certainly gives the many their share of dangers, but when it comes to the good things of life not only claims the largest share, but goes off with the whole lot. And this is what the rich men and the young men among you are aiming at; but in a great city these things are beyond your reach. What fools you are! In fact the stupidest of all the Hellenes I know, if you do not realize that your aims are evil, and the biggest criminals if you do realize this and still have the face to proceed with them.
--Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, VI.39-40