How Democratic is the Constitution?
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1980 - History - 150 pages
Designed to help prepare the nation for a thoughtful observance of the Constitutional bicentennial, this publication contains seven essays on the topic of democracy and the Constitution. "Democracy and the Constitution" (Gordon S. Wood) looks at the popular and democratic rhetoric used to justify the federalist system in the late 1700's. "Decent, Even Though Democratic" (Ann Stuart Diamond) considers James Madison's definition of a democratic constitution. "The Constitution as an Elitist Document" (Michael Parenti) argues that the framers of the Constitution sought to contain democracy rather than give it free rein. "Does the Constitution 'Secure These Rights'?" (Walter Berns) looks at how democracy has changed over time in the United States and what further advances in democracy might be made. "Democracy and the Citizen: Community, Dignity, and the Crisis of Contemporary Politics in America" (Wilson Carey McWilliams) argues that democracy requires community, civic dignity, and religion and that, in certain respects, the Constitution was more democratic in the past than it is today. "Deliberative Democracy: The Majority Principle in Republican Government" (Joseph M. Bessette) looks at the apparent contradiction between majority rule and constraints on the majority. "Conservatives, the Constitution, and the 'Spirit of Accommodation'" (Alfred F. Young) presents the view that the Constitution was the work of accommodating conservatives who drafted an essentially middle-of-the-road document that produced different responses among contemporaries of a democratic bent. (LP)
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