Democracy and the Rule of Law

This 2-credit seminar co-taught by Jack Knight and Mat McCubbins will provide an overview of the normative and positive issues associated with modern democracies and their legal systems. Students will explore questions related to the debate over what are the fundamental components of democracy and the rule of law. These questions include: does democracy require elections? Do elections need to be free, fair and frequent? Are there unalienable rights, protecting personal and civic freedoms, that are essential for a democratic system of government? How does one define the rule of law? Is the rule of law a necessary condition for democracy? Grades will be based on attendance and participation (20%), six 3-page papers due roughly every other week (60%), and one 8-page final paper due at the middle of finals week (20%). (Six 1-page papers (20%) and a 20-page paper (60%) can serve as an alternative.)

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