American Democracy: How We Got Here and Where We’re Going

Amherst College

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has written, co-written, or edited more than ninety books in the fields of law and political science. Professor Sarat has received the Stan Wheeler Award for his excellence as a teacher and mentor, awarded by the Law and Society Association.


From the January 6 attack on the Capitol to the widespread belief that the presidential election was “stolen,” our once proud democratic traditions are threatened in ways they have never been before. This course will look closely at our current political situation and examine the factors that have led us here. We will consider the unique history that produced America’s politics and consider what virtues and values democracy presupposes and cultivates. The course will conclude with thoughts on how we can rescue and reform democracy and refresh it for the 21st century.



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I enjoyed the excellent presentation. One historical comment: Voters from 1941 onward did achieve economic progress compared with their family who probably suffered hardship;during the preceding Great Depression. This may account for the high satisfaction votes during the later years.

1 month ago
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