How Democratic is the American Constitution?

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Yale University Press, 2003 - History - 224 pages
27 Reviews
In this provocative book, one of our most eminent political scientists questions the extent to which the American Constitution furthers democratic goals. Robert Dahl reveals the Constitution's potentially antidemocratic elements and explains why they are there, compares the American constitutional system to other democratic systems, and explores how we might alter our political system to achieve greater equality among citizens. In a new chapter for this second edition, he shows how increasing differences in state populations revealed by the Census of 2000 have further increased the veto power over constitutional amendments held by a tiny minority of Americans. He then explores the prospects for changing some important political practices that are not prescribed by the written Constitution, though most Americans may assume them to be so.
  

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Review: How Democratic is the American Constitution?

User Review  - Emma - Goodreads

I'm not entirely sure that I enjoyed this book, but I would certainly recommend it. I tend to think of the Constitution as the Bill of Rights, but Dahl is really focusing on the institution of ... Read full review

Review: How Democratic is the American Constitution?

User Review  - David Grant - Goodreads

Excellent critique of the US Constitution. And useful references to other mature democracies. Americans are much too enamored and unthinking about the system of government we have. Disappointment at ... Read full review

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Contents

Fundamental Questions
1
CHAPTER 2 What the Framers Couldnt Know
7
An American Illusion
41
CHAPTER 4 Electing the President
73
CHAPTER 5 How Well Does the Constitutional System Perform?
91
CHAPTER 6 Why Not a More Democratic Constitution?
121
CHAPTER 7 Some Reflections on the Prospects for a More Democratic Constitution
141
Changing the Unwritten Constitution
159
On the Terms Democracy and Republic
179
Tables and Figures
185
Notes
195
For Further Reading
215
Index
217
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Robert A. Dahl is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Yale University. His numerous books include, most recently, "How Democratic is the American Constitution?" and "On Democracy,"

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