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Introduction to American Politics How democratic is the American Constitution? How democratic should it be? 247 words In describing the United States we might say it is a rich country and a democratic one. Both terms seem accurate, but that all depends. America is very rich compared to Afghanistan and very democratic compared to China, yet we wouldn’t say America is perfectly rich and we wouldn’t say it is perfectly democratic. Both of these terms are relative, and as such, are best described in terms of degrees. In 1776, would anyone have said America was rich or democratic? Certainly not by today’s standards. As Robert Dahl writes in his book How Democratic is the American Constitution?, the Framers’ document has some democratic holes. The American Constitution itself is not exceptionally democratic, but as the country and democracy have evolved, the
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Unformatted text preview: Constitution has been brought up to speed through amendments and interpretations. Democracy strives for political equality, which all adult citizens enjoy. Democracy is also dynamic, which partially explains why some democratic shortcomings, like allowing slavery, were in the Constitution. By now, however, those glaring shortcomings are long gone, which demonstrates that the Constitutional system that has emerged is no longer that of the Framers. (Dahl, 27) In other words, the Constitution itself is not perfectly democratic, yet it helped mold a democratic country with a committed citizenry. That, in my mind, is a tremendous success and, in the spirit of democracy, I believe the Constitution, which has shown terrific flexibility, should be as democratic as the citizenry wants it to be....
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course POLS 201 taught by Professor Griffin during the Fall '08 term at Notre Dame.

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