The poor hardly existed for the circle to which Cicero belonged except as a mob which could be stirred to rioting by some demagogue, and as a political force through the dispensing of household charity. When Cicero got into politics we shall see the problem that confronted him and other politicians in dealing with those to whom he publicly referred with great respect, but privately regarded as extremely undesirable citizens who unfortunately had to be reckoned with. It was necessary to keep them alive by charity. But so for as their welfare was concerned there people no more entered into the life and through of upper classes that they entered into the life and thought of the aristocratic society of eighteenth century England or of certain parts of society in twentieth-century America.
In ancient times, a leader of the people; a popular leader or orator who espoused the cause of the people against any other party in the state.
[from Greek δημαγωγ-ός a popular leader, a leader of the mob, < δῆμος people, populace, the commons + ἀγωγός leading, leader.
In French, demagoge was used by Oresme in 14th cent.; but in the 17th Bossuet wished that it were permissible to employ the word. Démagogue was not admitted by the Academy till 1762.]
This post is a part of the Cicero series, reading This Was Cicero, by H.J. Haskell.