Segments in this Video

American Democracy: Development and Discussion (08:20)


The United States Constitution establishes democracy while not directly mentioning it. Civil rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence were for white, male landowners, reflecting the first democratic system invented by Ancient Patrician Greeks. Politicians and activists explain their views on its American evolution.

Government Purpose: Equal Opportunity (04:46)

The Constitution states that government duties include securing the blessings of liberty and supplying equal opportunities for citizens. Historically, this security is for white, male property owners. Politicians and activists discuss the document’s imperfections and the exclusivity of freedoms in the United States.

American Democracy: Equality in Elections (04:18)

Voter disenfranchisement marginalizes citizens, creating distrust in election processes. Money has long contributed to voting inequality, but Citizens United allowed corporate, foreign, and special interest groups to influence politics easily and anonymously.

Populism and Tyranny (07:36)

Poverty and chaos lead to Populists gaining power; they often display Authoritarian traits when their identification with citizens includes divisiveness. Populist tyrants ignore basic democratic principles, do not acknowledge rules of democracy or legitimacy of rivals, and are willing to violate civil liberties.

American Elections: Integrity and Voter Disenfranchisement (07:27)

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed government weaknesses, prompting several states to push back primary dates and adopt mail in voting. Election participation is inconsistent in the United States. Citizens are cynical because of the Electoral College and suppression laws addressing voter fraud allegations.

American Democracy: Hyperpartisanship (08:45)

Technology has complicated democratic processes worldwide. In the United States, Russian interference exposed election corruption and influenced voters through social media. Violence occurs when citizens are unable to converse logically and civilly; Trump’s election escalated the country’s polarized environment.

Rise of Authoritarianism (07:42)

Authoritarians appeal to fears, blaming problems on minority groups, and creating Fascist environments. Political commentators discuss the rise of Aryan supremacists and the Charlottesville protest. Globally, democracies are giving way to Authoritarianism.

American Democracy: Instable But Savable (03:30)

Freedom House researches democracy, advocating for liberty and human rights. Annual reports reveal that U.S. democracy has eroded since 2014. The system has survived because of improvements made by successive generations; today’s citizens must work together to form a more perfect union.

Credits: Part 1: America, Land of the Free? (Dismantling Democracy) (02:39)

Credits: Part 1: America, Land of the Free? (Dismantling Democracy)

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Part 1: America, Land of the Free? (Dismantling Democracy)

Part of the Series : Dismantling Democracy
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



What is democracy? Who is free? Does it really matter if American democracy falls? In episode 1, we dive into the history of democracy, its birth and the United States’ unique take on this form of government. The episode looks at some uniquely American challenges that limit American democracy such as hyper-partisanship, negative partisanship, institutional constraints (gerrymandering, the Electoral College, voter registration) public apathy and cynicism, influence of money in politics, and the public’s media consumption habits. By looking at the recent past and failed democracies in other nations, the episode also explores what comes next if American democracy falls.

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL280398

ISBN: 979-8-88678-127-4

Copyright date: ©2020

Closed Captioned

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