Lesson 36: How Have American Political Ideas and the American Constitutional System Influenced Other Nations?

Lesson Purpose

The ideas in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights have inspired other countries seeking to create independent, democratic governments. This lesson examines some of the challenges associated with using the American constitutional model in other parts of the world.

When you have finished this lesson, you should be able to identify which aspects of the American constitutional system have been influential elsewhere. You should be able to explain why some countries and international organizations have chosen to modify the American system or to use other types of democratic systems. You also should be able to explain how the Bill of Rights has influenced other countries and how some countries have adopted bills of rights that are considerably different. Finally, you should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions on why some aspects of American constitutional democracy that have been effective in the United States have not been used in other countries.