How Democratic Is the American Constitution? by Robert A. Dahl

We need to "change . . . the way we think about" the American Constitution, says Robert Dahl. Though it is now widely revered among us as a "sacred text," its worth depends solely on its service to democracy. The democratic ideal is full political equality, the equal right of all adult citizens "to participate, directly or indirectly through their elected representatives, in making the . . . decisions that citizens are expected (or required) to obey." By this standard, our system remains flawed. Dahl, perhaps our preeminent democratic thinker, seeks here "to invigorate     . . . the critical examination of the Constitution and its shortcomings."

 

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