- The Root Principles of Democracy by Melvin I. Ulrofsky
Democracy is hard, perhaps the most complex and difficult of all forms of government. It is filled with tensions and contradictions, and requires that its members labor diligently to make it work.
- Constitutionalism: America & Beyond by Greg Russell
Constitutionalism or rule of law means that the power of leaders and government bodies is limited, and that these limits can be enforced through established procedures.
- The Principles of Democratic Elections by D. Grier Stephenson, Jr.
“Governments … deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
- Federalism & Democracy by David J. Bodenhamer
Federalism is a system of shared power between two or more governments with authority over the same people and geographical area.
- The Creation of Law in a Democratic Society by Gordon Morris Bakken
The idea that governments derived legitimacy from the consent of the governed had ancient origins in Greek and Roman history, and early modern European political theorists had added substantially to the concept of sovereignty as residing in the people.
- The Role of an Independent Judiciary by Philippa Strum
The independence of the federal judiciary and the societal agreement that its pronouncements must be honored is a hallmark of the American political system. There is in fact no other court in the world with anything close to the extraordinary power that the Supreme Court has to decide societal disputes, interpret the national constitution, and make public policy.
- The Powers of the Presidency by Richard M. Pious
A president wields vast formal powers, and yet because of constitutional checks and balances and legal restrictions, the incumbent usually finds, as Harry Truman once said, that “the powers of the president mostly amount to getting people to do what they ought to do without him asking.” Often it is the power to persuade, rather than the power to command, that defines the outer limits of presidential power.
- The Role of a Free Media by John W. Johnson
For a society to be considered truly democratic, there should be a high degree of protection accorded to the expression of ideas in published form, whether the medium is newspapers, magazines, books, pamphlets, motion pictures, television or, most recently, the Internet.
- The Role of Interest Groups by R. Allen Hays
Interest groups are one important mechanism through which citizens in the United States make their ideas, needs, and views known to elected officials.
- The People’s Right to Know: Transparency in Government Institutions by Rodney A. Smolla
“The people’s right to know,” however, can also have a different meaning, separate from the notion of freedom of the press, a meaning that is truly grounded in the people, and directed toward the right of the people to know about the actions of their own government. It is this variation of the phrase “people’s right to know,” focusing on what in modern times is often referred to as transparency in government, that concerns us.
- Protecting Minority Rights by Tinsley Yarbrough
Debates over expanding concepts of equality have formed some of the most painful, yet profound, episodes in U.S. history. Except perhaps in the most homogeneous societies, the fair treatment of minorities is one of a nation’s most fundamental and vexing responsibilities. There is no way that a society can treat all persons identically, yet fulfill its legitimate functions.
- Civilian Control of the Military by Michael F. Cairo
At the same time, they realized that if military force was not adequately controlled, it could be used to seize control of the government and threaten democracy. The Founders had a genuine fear of the abuse of military power, a concern that a strong executive could, over time, degrade into dictatorship or demagoguery. History had taught them that this abuse was not infrequent. Thus, they believed it was necessary to demonstrate that under the new Constitution the military would be subject to civilian authority in order to protect democracy.
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