• What is civic life? What is politics? What is government? Why are government and politics necessary? What purposes should government serve?
• What are the essential characteristics of limited and unlimited government?
• What are the nature and purposes of constitutions?
• What are alternative ways of organizing constitutional governments?
When examining issues like civic life, politics and government a study of the effort to enfranchise the citizens of the District of Columbia over the last 200 years is particularly instructive. In the federal courts, the national legislature and through many grass-root efforts the citizens of the District have fought an ongoing battle for equal rights. These efforts have included amending the U.S. Constitution and securing expanded rights through home rule. An examination of these efforts reveals much about citizenship, the characteristics of government and the nature and purpose of our Constitution.
The United States has successfully exported democracy to many places around the
world. Eleven countries have used our Constitution as a framework for creating