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Rethinking The Finality Of And Democracy In The American Constitution

1916 words - 8 pages

Is the United States Constitution a sacred and absolute document? Dahl (2001) argued that the Constitution is not perfect or permanent in his book, How Democratic is the American Constitution. He stresses that his main aim is not to propose that the Constitution must be amended, but to facilitate readers in changing how they think about the Constitution. In order to help people rethink the Constitution, Dahl (2001) explained the limitations of its Framers and the Constitution’s not widely known undemocratic aspects. The strengths of the book are its ethos or reputation of the author that establishes his credibility, informal writing style that can appeal to more people, its consideration of a number of undemocratic aspects of the Constitution that makes it open to changes, and its recognition of the limitations of the Framers, while its weaknesses are its lack of further depth of discussion on the undemocratic aspects of the Constitution and it does not provide sufficient empirical evidence on what democratic aspects of a democratic republican will work for the unique and diverse values, beliefs, and practices of Americans.
When someone even thinks, moreover, asserts, that the American Constitution is flawed, it may be safe to imagine numerous Americans who would spring up in its defense, but Dahl (2001) knew how to appease them because he is not new or unknowledgeable to the topic given his education and expertise in political science. Dahl (2001) has ethos by virtue of his background and writing quality output on the field of political science. Hertzberg (2002) of The New Yorker described the merits of Dahl (2001) as an eminent political analyst. Dahl (2001) happens to be the “Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science” at Yale University, who is a “member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, [and] a corresponding fellow of the British Academy” (Hertzberg, 2002). Dahl also received a number of awards, including the Talcott Parsons Prize, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, and the James Madison Award of the American Political Science Association (Hertzberg, 2002). Aside from these awards, he has authored twenty-three books and textbooks, a number of which are seen as seminal books of modern political thinking (Hertzberg, 2002). Apart from these distinct products on the political science field, Dahl has earned the esteem of his peers. Fred I. Greenstein of Princeton described Dahl as “the premier democratic theorist of our time,” James S. Fishkin of the University of Texas called Dahl "the premier analyst of democratic theory and democratic institutions writing today,” and Theodore J. Lowi of Cornell stressed that Dahl is the “foremost political theorist of this generation” (Hertzberg, 2002). From these impressive honors and esteemed praises, Dahl is argued as someone who knows his expertise. If Dahl thinks that something is wrong with the Constitution, his...

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