Democracy in America: Labor Mobility, Ideology, and Constitutional Reform
Constitutional democracy in the United States emerged very gradually through a long series of constitutional bargains in the course of three centuries. No revolutions or revolutionary threats were necessary or evident during most of the three century–long transition to constitutional democracy in America. As in Europe, legislative authority gradually increased, wealth-based suffrage laws were gradually eliminated, the secret ballot was introduced, and the power of elected officials increased. For the most part, this occurred peacefully and lawfully, with few instances of open warfare or revolutionary threats. A theory of constitutional exchange grounded in rational choice models provides a good explanation for the distinctive features of American constitutional history, as it does for much of the West, although it does less well at explaining the timing of some changes.
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