9780300095241

How Democratic Is the American Constitution?; Second Edition

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780300095241

  • ISBN10:

    0300095244

  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-11-10
  • Publisher: Yale University Press

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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

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.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Fundamental Questions
1(6)
What the Framers Couldn't Know
7(34)
The Constitution as a Model: An American Illusion
41(32)
Electing the President
73(18)
How Well Does the Constitutional System Perform?
91(30)
Why Not a More Democratic Constitution?
121(20)
Some Reflections on the Prospects for a More Democratic Constitution
141(18)
Further Reflections: Changing the Unwritten Constitution
159(20)
Appendix A: On the Terms ``Democracy'' and ``Republic'' 179(6)
Appendix B: Tables and Figures 185(10)
Notes 195(20)
For Further Reading 215(2)
Index 217

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