How Democratic Is the American Constitution? the Castle Lectures in Ethics, Politics, and Economics Robert A. Dahl

ISBN: 9781281722560

Published: January 10th 2010

ebook

198 pages


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How Democratic Is the American Constitution? the Castle Lectures in Ethics, Politics, and Economics  by  Robert A. Dahl

How Democratic Is the American Constitution? the Castle Lectures in Ethics, Politics, and Economics by Robert A. Dahl
January 10th 2010 | ebook | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 198 pages | ISBN: 9781281722560 | 9.20 Mb

In this provocative work, an American political scientist poses the question, Why should we uphold our constitution?. The vast majority of Americans venerate the American Constitution and the principles it embodies, but many also worry that theMoreIn this provocative work, an American political scientist poses the question, Why should we uphold our constitution?. The vast majority of Americans venerate the American Constitution and the principles it embodies, but many also worry that the United States has fallen behind other nations on crucial democratic issues, including economic equality, racial integration and womens rights.

Robert Dahl explores the vital tension between the Americans belief in the legitimacy of their constitution and their belief in the principles of democracy. Dahl starts with the assumption that the legitimacy of the American Constitution derives solely from its utility as an instrument of democratic governance. Dahl demonstrates that, due to the context in which it was conceived, the constitution came to incorporate significant antidemocratic elements.

Because the Framers of the Constitution had no relevant example of a democratic political system on which to model the American government, many defining aspects of the political system were implemented as a result of short-sightedness or last-minute compromise. Dahl highlights those elements of the American system that are most unusual and potentially antidemocratic: the federal system, the bicameral legislature, judicial review, presidentialism, and the electoral college system. The political system that emerged from the worlds first great democratic experiment is unique - no other well-established democracy has copied it.

How does the American constitutional system function in comparison to other democratic systems? How could the political system be altered to achieve more democratic ends? To what extent did the Framers of the Constitution build features into the political system that militate against significant democratic reform? Refusing to accept the status of the American Constitution as a sacred text, Dahl challenges America to think critically about the origins of its political system and to consider the opportunities for creating a more democratic society.



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