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Democracy on Film: How Movies Provide Insight into the Dilemmas of Current Political Debate

December 7, 2023 @ 12:30 pm


To be effective and survive, societies that define themselves as a democracy must inevitably make critical assumptions about both the strength and character of their people and the constitutional structure of their political institutions. In some respects, then, democracy is a fragile system of government. But, as many commentators have observed, an ever-increasing lack of civility and decency in contemporary political debate threatens to undermine the foundation and fabric of democracy in the United States. With the foundations of democracy being threatened by this diminished civility, it is particularly timely to examine and remind ourselves about the foundations of democratic governance. Using clips from films such as ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ and ‘Seven Days in May,’ the lecture will examine the sources of threats to American democracy and how our constitutional and political system can respond to such challenges. This event is also available virtually.