Lesson 1: Liberal, Constitutional Democracy

At the beginning of this course, we will define the concept of democracy and explain its purposes and essential principles. After examining modern democracy, we will explore constitutional liberal democracy as well as topics such as granting power, limitations on power, types of limitations, the rule of law, judicial review, liberalism, the separation of religion and state, the people, and the nation-state. In this session, democracy will be presented as the most effective form of government for countering abuses of power and the form of government most closely associated with respect for human dignity and self-direction. From this perspective, we will also highlight the differences between citizens and subjects. Eventually, this session will lead participants to consider whether liberalism and republicanism carry risks for democracy. What is the role of economic freedom in the maintenance of liberal democracy? What is required for democracy to flourish?  Since citizens constitute the core of a democracy, what roles does a democracy’s citizenry need to fulfill?

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