Democracy

Choice #1

Write the “new (alternative) narrative” for democracy. Into the “Athenian Narrative” insert other stories and moments in which important “democratic” mechanisms are observed. Shape that narrative to include persons, plots and outcomes that will help us be prepared for democracy in the 21st century. Include such themes and motifs as equality, inclusion/exclusion, justice, authority, power and freedom, etc. Make references to our readings, lectures and discussions.

Or alternatively, think “DEMOCRACY, the movie” (or play, as they are similar in dramatic structure.)

Think of the characters and plots, events and institutions. Could you tell the story using the several smaller stories we have referenced this semester. Think in terms of plot, figures (our authors), ideas (from the reading) arranged into beginning, middle, and end scenes. Is the outcome tragic (the hero, democracy is defeated (bad outcome) or comic, the (hero, democracy) succeeds (good outcome). Include dialogue, trace themes, explain decisions, link events…creatively.

Choice # 2

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Write an essay discussing both the sources of and the consequences of these words. Describe the contexts of the Declaration. Where in the “Athenian narrative” does this claim fit? What alternative “voices” tell stories or raise questions that challenge the universal promises made in these words. What critique would you bring to these ideas after reading the assignments in The Secret Histories…? What do these “truths” mean for us as citizens today within the diversities of contemporary global society? Are these “universal” truths? How might they be practiced today?

Choice #3

Choose at least three of our readings/authors: Image a conversation with them. For each: What question would you ask of them? What would be their reply? What question(s) would they ask you? Three references are required; including more references and examples increases the grade value of the essay.

Short Answers

A. Context and Contribution: Please answer seven of the ten choices in the following short answer questions: Identify each context and the contribution it can make to a new or alternative history of democracy. Describe in a brief but coherent paragraph why you support that answer. Do all ten for extra credit.

1. Cleisthenes: ~ 508 BCE

2. John Locke: 1689

3. The Constitution of the United States: 1789

4. “Declaration of the Rights of Man”: 1789

5. The Indian Removal Act: 1830

6. DeToqueville: 1839

7. Metis “hunt democracy”: 1870

8. UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1948

9. “persistent minorities”: 2009

10. Aung San Suu Kyi: 2013

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