Topic outline

  • Strengthening Democracy in America Series

    The ten free courses in this series are for all those who have not had an opportunity to study the American political system in depth. Each of the courses is divided into various sections with videos, questions for understanding, and discussion questions. We hope that these courses will be of interest to all Americans who wish to learn more about their system of government and how they can best exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens.


    Part 1: An Overview of the Political System Created by the Framers of the Constitution


    Course 1: What Did the Framers Have in Mind When They Created the Constitution?

    Professor Jack Barlow of Juniata College interviewed by Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director, Center for Civic Education

    This first course in the Strengthening Democracy in America series explains why the Framers created the constitutional system, which has lasted with significant modifications to this day. 


    Course 2: What Is the History of the Development of Our Democratic Institutions and Norms?

    William Galston, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, interviewed by Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director, Center for Civic Education

    This course examines the history of the democratic institutions and norms that provide the foundation of our government. It explains the importance of maintaining a balance of power between the three branches of government and how adherence to democratic norms is essential to the healthy functioning of a society.  


    Part 2: Evaluating Strengths and Weaknesses of the American Political System and Proposed Remedies


    Course 3: What Are Some Overall Strengths and Weaknesses of the American Political System?

    The Honorable Lee Hamilton interviewed by Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director, Center for Civic Education

    This course examines strengths of the American political system, related weaknesses, and ways by which the system can be improved. 


    Course 4: What Are Some of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Our National Government?

    Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, interviewed by Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director, Center for Civic Education

    This course examines strengths and weaknesses in our system of three branches of national government, including ways of enhancing the strengths and diminishing the weaknesses. This includes claims regarding a breakdown in essential norms and the current extent of polarization in Congress. 


    Courses Under Development


    Course 5: What Are Some of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Our Political Party and Electoral Systems?

    Professor Diana Owen, Georgetown University, interviewed by Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director, Center for Civic Education


    Course 6: What Are Some of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Federal Bureaucracy?

    Professor Paul Light, New York University, interviewed by Christopher Riano, Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Government, Columbia University


    Course 7: What Are Some of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Media in the Political Process?

    Professor Regina Lawrence, University of Oregon, interviewed by Marilyn Cover, Executive Director Emeritus, Classroom Law Project


    Course 8: What Are Some of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the American Political Culture?

    Professor Stephen Farnsworth, University of Mary Washington, interviewed by Professor Diana Owen, Georgetown University


    Course 9: What Are Some of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the American Economic System?

    Professor George Shambaugh, Georgetown University, interviewed by Professor Diana Owen, Georgetown University


    Course 10: What Are Some of the Strengths and Weaknesses of our Federal System?

    Scholar to be determined