Unit 6: What Challenges Might Face American Constitutional Democracy in the Twenty-first Century?
Brookhiser, Richard. What Would the Founders Do?: Our Questions, Their Answers. New York: Basic Books, 2006. 261pp. ISBN: 978-0-46500-819-3. With his characteristic wit and insight, Brookhiser used his knowledge of the Founders and of modern politics to apply their views to today's issues. An early chapter compares "Their World, Our World". Brookhiser then looks at what the Founders might think about current concerns such as war and peace, race and identity, and education and the media. A brief work, but it is a provocative and enjoyable one.
Clapham, Andrew. Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 144pp. ISBN: 978-0-19920-552-3. A very readable introduction to human rights. After a brief review of the historical development of international human rights, the book focuses on specific concerns including torture, privacy, discrimination and equality, education, and the death penalty.
Dahl, Robert A., Shapiro, Ian, and Cheibub, Jose Antonio, eds. The Democracy Sourcebook. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2003. 568pp. ISBN: 978-0-26254-147-3. A superb collection of classic and contemporary readings. The book is divided into nine self-contained chapters. The Final chapter, "Democracy and the Global Order," expands on ideas presented in Unit Six.
Kagan, Robert. Dangerous Nation: America's Place in the World from its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 544pp. ISBN: 978-0-37572-491-6. In this very readable book, Kagan refutes what he calls "The myth of America's isolationist tradition." The Declaration of Independence firmly established America's conviction that the inalienable rights of all humankind transcended territorial borders and blood ties. A re-examination of early American foreign policy, Kagan contends, will show that the United States has not only been regarded as a wellspring of political and social revolution, but as an ambitious and, at times, a "dangerous nation."
Koser, Khalid. International Migration: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 138pp. ISBN: 978-0-19929-801-3. A balanced, thoughtful introduction to migration, a matter of worldwide concern. Koser puts migration to the United States in a global perspective.
Power, Timothy J., and Rae, Nicol C., eds. Exporting Congress?: The Influence of the U.S. Congress on World Legislatures. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 2006. 248pp. ISBN: 978-0-82295-921-2. Analysis of how the United States Congress has influenced elected assemblies in both old and new democracies. The essay comparing the U.S. House of Representatives with the European Parliament is especially insightful.
Sabato, Larry J. A More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country. New York: Walker and Company, 2007. 352pp. ISBN: 978-0-80271-621-7. Twenty-three proposals, ranging from reforming Congress and the electoral college to requiring national service and a new constitutional convention, are intended to stimulate discussion and debate.