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Download How Democratic Is the American Constitution? Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample How Democratic Is the American Constitution? (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Robert A. Dahl
3.27 out of 53.27 out of 53.27 out of 53.27 out of 53.27 out of 5 3.27 (15 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert A. Dahl Narrator: Sandra Swafford Publisher: Polity Audio LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN:
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In this fascinating book, the author begins by looking at the ways in which the framers of our Constitution were hampered in their work. They could not know about developments in democratic procedures that hadn't yet been devised, and they had no model of the democracy they were attempting to structure, which could have guided them in their deliberations.

The Constitution written by these talented but fallible men is seen by many as a sacred icon, but Robert A. Dahl examines what have turned out to be some of its less democratic features. He compares the functioning of our country with that of other advanced democracies who do some things quite differently and possibly more democratically.

What can we learn from them and do we want to adopt some of the measures that make these other democracies often work so well? Changes have been made in our Constitution since 1787. It can be altered and has been many times. For example, when citizens became convinced that slavery should not be allowed to continue, the Constitution was amended to repeal it. When 50 percent of the population, women, were recognized as citizens who deserved equality, they were given the franchise.

Dahl wonders if other important changes in our national document are possible. Could changes in the unequal representation of two senators from every state, regardless of population, ever win approval in the Senate or enough popular support in the small states to result in an amendment that required the number of senators in each state to reflect the population of that state? Or could we alter the way in which our presidents are selected by an electoral college, resulting in several elections, including that of 2000, in which presidents have been chosen who did not win a majority of popular votes?

The author discusses the likelihood of success in making the changes just mentioned, and suggests that short of that, there are helpful alterations that could be made in the unwrit... Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 4/5/2013

    " A short book, but gives the reader a lot to think about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 amanda | 3/30/2013

    " A really clear review of the problematics inherent in the kind of idol worship that's gone on with the American constitution. Not nearly as obnoxious as the title would have you believe. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Agnes | 2/6/2013

    " His ideas were insightful but I feel it is wishful thinking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nelly | 5/16/2012

    " Dahl is a legend. Interesting point. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yanssel | 4/27/2012

    " Dahl presents the points for his argument very clearly and simply. Someone who knows very little of the American system would still have an easy time understanding Dahl's points. Highly recommended for those interested in U.S. Government. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sylvia Moore | 4/11/2012

    " Read this book, and you'll be convinced that our sacred document isn't as democratic as people assume it is. I also like the comparisons of the U.S. political system to other democratic systems around the developed world. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marsha Wright | 10/30/2011

    " Wasn't a fan of this book. It was thought provoking but more so because it was so terrible. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jor-dahn | 10/22/2011

    " If you ever want a bird's eye view of this man's project - democratic theory in general - shorn of all academic pretense, he gives it to you here. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron | 9/14/2011

    " Dahl carries forth the work begun over a century ago by Charles Beard and exposes the Constitution as a fraud that never intended to create freedom, equality, or opportunity for the masses. He goes beyond Beard in that he offer ways in which we might change that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 1/30/2011

    " I read this book for my US Constitution class. I've got to say, it was an interesting read. The ideas presented about our Constitution really made me think about our current system. They were also presented and laid out in a way that was easy to understand and follow. Which is always nice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nelly | 9/25/2010

    " Dahl is a legend. Interesting point. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Agnes | 9/20/2010

    " His ideas were insightful but I feel it is wishful thinking. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jor-dahn | 8/17/2010

    " If you ever want a bird's eye view of this man's project - democratic theory in general - shorn of all academic pretense, he gives it to you here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 amanda | 2/16/2009

    " A really clear review of the problematics inherent in the kind of idol worship that's gone on with the American constitution. Not nearly as obnoxious as the title would have you believe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 7/31/2007

    " A short book, but gives the reader a lot to think about. "

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