OSHR 1137 - Understanding America’s Political Quarrels: The Story of Two Understandings of Democracy

  • Noncredit
  • Fort Collins

This course is offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Colorado State University. You must be a member of Osher to enroll in this course.

From 1776 to 2015, two competing traditions of democracy have shaped and fueled the conflicts in American political life. One is built around the primacy of the individual and liberty; the other asserts the centrality of community and equality.

No other theories have established themselves as relevant to defining or resolving America’s political quarrels. And, most confounding of all, while these two theories of democracy have a conceptual coherence they have not organized those who support them into stable, similarly coherent groups of advocates. Most Americans, most of the time, selectively embrace both understandings of democracy.

This course will clarify the ideas that shape these notions of American democracy and will explore the unique and paradoxical ways they have expressed themselves within American political life.

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.