Is Our Democracy’s Sun Rising or Setting


This question is inspired by Our Common Purpose  (Links to an external site.)  ( Founded nearly 250 years ago, the United States of America is the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. Its infancy, under the Articles of Confederation, was turbulent. Its early prospects, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, were very much uncertain. At the Convention, Benjamin Franklin—catalyst of the Revolution, leading citizen of the republic, enslaver turned abolitionist—wondered as he observed the conflicts, compromises, and contradictions of the process: was the young nation’s sun rising or setting? With the signing of the Constitution, he concluded, the sun was rising. Today, the question of rise or fall is more pertinent than ever. In this age of globalization, centralized power, economic inequality, deep demographic shifts, political polarization, pandemics and climate change, and radical disruption in the media and information environments, we face these converging trends in a constitutional democracy that feels to many increasingly unresponsive, nonadaptive, and even antiquated. Compose a 700-900 word essay in which you: Consider the factors that suggest American democracy is changing for the worse, maybe dying. Support your claims with quotes or references to the sources listed below.  Consider the factors that suggest American democracy is changing for the better, maybe revitalizing. Support your claims with quotes or references to the sources listed below.  Weigh the evidence, and make a judgement (an inductive generalization) based on the evidence and your analysis. After you have completed your first draft, use the rubric as a check list for editing your final draft.  Use MLA format for Works Cited page. Need help with that? OWL MLA Format REQUIRED SOURCES: [Assigned over the next two weeks] On dialectical threats to deliberative democracy: Why We Argue, chpt.4, 5, 6, 9 & 12 Threat of conspiracy theories: Frontline: United States of Conspiracy  (Links to an external site.)   ( (55 min) Threat of conspiracy theories: NYT Rabbit Hole Episodes Seven  (Links to an external site.)  and Eight  (Links to an external site.)  ( and ( (65 min) The state of democracy & what needs fixing: Our Common Purpose: Introduction  (Links to an external site.)  and OCP Strategy #4 ( Threats to democracy posed by a global pandemic: Four Danielle Allen Lectures (  (Links to an external site.) Neoliberal influence on democracy: Danielle Allen, The Road from Serfdom (  (Links to an external site.) Use at least one news story or investigative report from a trustworthy source. ADDITIONAL/OPTIONAL SOURCES: Three Ways to Frame and Measure Democracy  (Links to an external site.) The State of American Democracy Project: The Conversation  (Links to an external site.)  (5 episodes) Emily Bazelon, “Free Speech Will Save our Democracy”  (Links to an external site.) George Packer, “America’s Plastic Hour is Upon Us”  (Links to an external site.) The Atlantic: Series “Is Democracy Dying?”  (Links to an external site.) The Conversation: Articles on Democracy  (Links to an external site.) Neoliberal influence on democracy: Podcast: The Second Redemption  (Links to an external site.)  (60 min) Anything previously assigned in this course.

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