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Are Americans Fully Committed to Democracy?

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Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Among the many different forms of government, democracies are unique in the extent to which their stability depends on legitimacy—a belief on the part of the public that the system of government in the country has what Seymour Martin Lipset called “a moral title to rule.”  
Moral assessments of political authority are always to some extent relative. People may not love their system of government, but it is important that they at least see it as better than any alternative they can imagine. Social scientists thus have increasingly been inclined to measure political legitimacy with Winston Churchill’s famous declaration in mind: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time,” writes Larry Diamond in Beggruen Insights. Read the article here.

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