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Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Government?

Edited by Stephen J. Wayne
Has our system of checks and balances between the three branches of our federal government undergone changes for good or ill over the years since the Constitution was set as the cornerstone of our nation? How stand our political traditions, our personal freedoms, our purported equality, our sense of governance "of, by, and for the people"? Are we the democratic nation we set out to be, or do we have a distance to go to achieve this ideal? Alternatively, is approaching a democratic ideal desirable today in the light of the smaller, more integrated, and dangerous world in which we live?

Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Government? examines the theory and practice of American democracy and the dichotomy that currently exists between them. The contributors assess both the reasons—and the consequences—of this division between the theory of democracy and how it is played out in actuality. Focusing on the here and now, this book is about the institutions, process, and politics of government: how well they work; whether they meet the criteria for a viable democratic system; and the extent to which they contribute to good public policy.

As we begin the 21st century, with rancorous political partisanship and threats to domestic security and tranquility at an all-time high, Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Government? asks us to think seriously about the state of our much-heralded democracy, and whether or not our political system can respond to the pressing needs of a new era without jeopardizing the basic values and beliefs that underlie its very foundation.

About the Author

Stephen J. Wayne is a professor of government at Georgetown University and the author of The Road to the White House, and coauthor of Presidential Leadership.


"The title of this book asks the right question, and Wayne and his contributors provide cutting-edge public law and political science responses. If you want your students to get up to speed on the most important issues in the study of American politics, this volume would be a good place to start."—Richard M. Pious, Adolph and Effie Ochs Professor of American Studies, Barnard College; and author of The Presidency

"Wayne and his contributors offer a thoughtful collection of essays on the theory and practice of American democracy. The questions that they examine are crucial to understanding the American system of government today, especially as the nation confronts issues of civic participation, balancing civil rights with fighting the war on terrorism, creating a fair campaign finance system, restraining presidential powers, among others. This volume provides a useful framework for analyzing this variety of issues confronting our democratic system and thus would be a nice supplemental text for courses in democratic theory or contemporary American politics."—Mark J. Rozell, professor and chair, Department of Politics, The Catholic University of America; and co-editor of The Christian Right in American Politics: Marching to the Millennium

Georgetown University Press

9781589010055 : is-this-any-way-to-run-a-democratic-government-wayne
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