How Democratic is the American Constitution

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Christopher Hutchinson


PolySci 300

April, 2013.

How Democratic is the American Constitution?

Many readers who find themselves reading this book will have to understand that Dahl is nor trying to change the constitution just how we perceive and think about the constitution. Dahl speaks of how when the constitution was written some states did not want to even have a part in it and how that now today the American people hold true to this document, some word for word. Throughout the book Dahl continues on to discuss many different parts of the American Constitution that he feels needs to be brought to light. This spans from the creation of the constitution to the Electoral College, even to the existence of the Supreme Court. Dahl goes in depth and explains all of his arguments with reasoning and empirical observations. Although much of what he says could be misconstrued, he makes notations that truly make the reader question the democratic nature of the American Constitution.

Dahl beings his delve into the constitution by noting the limitations the framers had to deal with. Not mental limitations so to speak; but limitations in the sense that they had no way to truly know what the future of America would become. Not only were they limited by their inability to predict the future, but also at this time there was no applicable model of a republic for them to base their decisions when the constitution was written. Dahl continues in this first chapter to bring up the more undemocratic aspects of the constitution such as suffrage and slavery. The delegates present at the convention were at odds regarding slavery and if any changes should be made on the issue at all. The framers did not start out with the democratic...