Second Rate Democracy

Seventeen Ways America is Less Democratic than other Major Western Countries and How We Can Do Better

A web project of Douglas J. Amy, Professor Emeritus of Politics, Mount Holyoke College

Seventeen Ways America is Less Democratic than other Major Western Countries and How We Can Do Better

A web project of Douglas J. Amy, Professor Emeritus of Politics, Mount Holyoke College

The United States is the country that democracy left behind.
At its founding, the U.S. was on the cutting edge of democracy. Our Constitution rejected rule by kings and pioneered democratic innovations like civil liberties. But in the 200 years since, democratic institutions have continued to evolve – with improvements in legislatures, elections, the judiciary, party systems, and so on. Other Western nations, with more modern constitutions, have taken advantage of these institutional advances and made their democracies fairer, more representative, and more accountable to their citizens. We haven’t followed suit and we’ve become a second-rate democracy, with a government mired in gridlock, dominated by monied interests, and unresponsive to the public.
Read the Introduction


What is this site about?

Frustrated with American politics? You should be. This site explains why American democracy is failing, which special interests benefit from this, what we can learn from other countries, and what reforms need to be adopted.

Learn more about this project

What Can You Do?

Learn what you can do.  Here is a list of some of the major reform groups that you can join and/or support in their efforts to bring real democracy to our country.

See the resource list

Want to Learn More?

To gain a deeper understanding, here is a list of books that provide a more comprehensive and well-documented analysis of these issues and explore in more detail some possible solutions.

See the book list

[ back to top ]