How Democratic Is the American Constitution? (Castle Lectures Series)
Some reflections on the prospects for a more democratic constitution Further reflections: changing the unwritten constitution Appendix A: on the terms "democracy" and "republic" Appendix B: tables and figures.
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How Democratic Is the American Constitution? : Robert A. Dahl :
Dahl, Robert Alan, New Haven, Conn. Yale Nota bene The Castle lectures in ethics, politics, and economics. United States. Add Tag No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
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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.
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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 world's 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?
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- Castle Lectures: How Democratic Is the American Constitution? by Robert A. Dahl (2003, Paperback).
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.