American & Wyo Government
November 12, 2011
How Democratic is the American Constitution Summary Robert Dahl explains in the beginning of the book that he is not proposing changes in the American Constitution, but suggests changes in the way we think about our constitution. In this essay, I will explain the history of this American constitution, what Dahl suggests about the American Constitution, and my opinion about this book.
In the history of the United States, there are two factors that mark its constitutional history. For one thing, the rights of citizens were organized through limits to power, linked to a libertarian conception of liberal viewpoint. For another, the original structure of the …show more content…
After this historical overview, we compare four pillars of the current design structure: federalism (strong bicameralism and unequal representation in the Senate) (pg.98), the electoral system, the method of presidential election and the limits of judicial power in relation to the countries that have functioned without interruption. The overall conclusion is that the American system is a combination between the two types that copied the defects of both and none of its benefits.
Dahl shows highly a negative view about what reform can be achieved in a near future because the democratic republican part of values and rights (Bill of Rights and amendments) were possible instruments through citizen involvement provided for this purpose. It is necessary to achieve this change of attitude towards civil society in the constitutional system to achieve the goals discussed previously. This is what prevents you from fitting this issue on the public agenda. For this, the strategy involves both academic circles and the media. They are both related to a transformation of political culture, understood as the acquisition of beliefs and customs of agreements.
His contribution on the possible institutional design is focused on two directions: the first is to “re-conceptualize” the constitution from which to project any reform, including political institutions and the electoral system in a constitutional system as a "means for achieving a