Of the people, for the people, by the people. These three ideals were framed in the Constitution adopted in 1789, but according to 21st-century Pamphleteer Carl Malamud, the actual history of America shows that they were adopted in three distinct phases spanning three centuries in time. Malamud explains all at the O'Reilly Gov 2.0 Summit in the 2nd day keynote, and in work he shares with CC0, "no rights reserved"...<--break-->
I first learned of Carl Malamud's work when fellow OSI Board member Russ Nelson endorsed Malamud to be appointed Government Printer. Since then I have grown more and more impressed with his substantial accomplishments, and even moreso, his vision for Government 2.0. His pamplet is entitled "By the people", and you can access it here.
My summary is simple: the first wave of American democracy was "of the people", in which the founders dared to involved themselves in the civic affairs of government. The second wave was "for the people", when the Government Printing Office began to report on the actions of the government as a public resource rather than relying on sporadic and unreliable private reporting. The third wave was "by the people", when the government is no longer the exclusive tool of elected officials and government bureaucrats, but is itself a resource that can be used by the people for myriad new purposes. Hopefully that's enough to whet your intellectual appetite to read the whole pamphlet. It should take less than 10 minutes, and will change forever how you think about government and your relationship to it.