News and Public Affairs

Preserving Democracy: Pursuing a More Perfect Union

Follow the pursuit of democracy from the Revolutionary War through recurring cycles of civil rights progress and backlash, the 2021 Capitol riot and beyond. Explore the impact of voter rights and a civics curriculum on engaged and informed citizens.

What do the Jan. 6th attacks tell us about our democracy?

9m 37s

On the two year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection, Yale historian Joanne Freeman reflects on the enduring legacy left behind by the attack on the Capitol, and what it means for our democracy now: "What the lying did, what the erosion of faith in the democratic process did, was teach people to not trust the electoral process. "

Episodes

  • Preserving Democracy: Pursuing a More Perfect Union: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Preserving Democracy: Pursuing a More Perfect Union

    S1 E1 - 1h 55m

    Follow the pursuit of democracy from the Revolutionary War through recurring cycles of civil rights progress and backlash, the 2021 Capitol riot and beyond. Explore the impact of voter rights and a civics curriculum on engaged and informed citizens.

Extras + Features

  • America’s long, bitter fight for equal voting rights: asset-original

    America’s long, bitter fight for equal voting rights

    S1 E1 - 4m 26s

    Experts discuss the extraordinary tool of accountability voting can be. But for a long time in America, that right was only available to a select group of people—and this was by design. The ability to vote was and is one of the most powerful non-violent tools citizens can use to change their everyday lives. “The fiercest fights of our history have been to keep other people from voting.”

  • Democracy’s strange compromise: asset-original

    Democracy’s strange compromise

    S1 E1 - 6m 12s

    Experts discuss how the American Revolution united the states against the common enemy of the British monarchy, versus how Abraham Lincoln’s election and the Civil War brought our democracy and the nation to its brink. “They didn't claim that Lincoln hadn't really won and had stolen the votes,” says Eric Foner. “They just said, we don't accept this.”

  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) Discusses Jan. 6, 2021: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) Discusses Jan. 6, 2021

    S1 E1 - 1m 36s

    Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) Discusses January 6, 2021 with Margaret Hoover, host of PBS' "Firing Line with Margaret Hoover." He explains that in the days before the deadly riot at the United States Capitol, he was getting death threats and other threatening messages that directly targeted him.

  • The “hall of mirrors” of social media and misinformation: asset-original

    The “hall of mirrors” of social media and misinformation

    S1 E1 - 6m 3s

    As new levels of connectivity impact and distort political conversations and participation, experts examine how new media and social media are changing politics and journalism as we know it. “Conflict and upheaval and even violence, I think, go hand in hand with a kind of lawless informational space where people don't really know the same truth,” says Johns Hopkins Historian Lilliana Mason.

  • Political violence throughout American history: asset-original

    Political violence throughout American history

    S1 E1 - 6m 21s

    “Mobs trying to overturn democratic elections are not necessarily new in American history, but it has happened enough that we have to realize it's a symbol of a problem with democracy,” says Columbia University Eric Foner. “Or, a problem with people accepting the legitimacy of everybody having a say in our political democratic system.”

  • Democracy is a lot more fragile than many thought: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Democracy is a lot more fragile than many thought

    S1 E1 - 51s

    The January 6 Capitol Riots revealed that democracy is more fragile than many realized. Historian Joanne Freeman and journalist Jelani Cobb discuss the ongoing conflicts American democracy faces in the aftermath of those riots.

  • “We don't want just the veneer of a democracy”: asset-original

    “We don't want just the veneer of a democracy”

    S1 E1 - 8m 45s

    The U.S. wasn’t the first democracy, nor is it the first nation to have issues with it. Struggles are inherent to the democratic process, experts explain, and America is at a critical turning point. “Very few countries have had stable democratic rule for a long time,” says Princeton Historian David Bell. “Democracy can be very fragile.”

  • American Democracy's “Achilles Heel”: asset-original

    American Democracy's “Achilles Heel”

    S1 E1 - 5m 20s

    Experts discuss one of American democracy’s biggest vulnerabilities: race relations. This isn’t solely a contemporary tension within our democracy; it’s been present since the founding of the country, then a young nation deeply invested in the slave trade. Racial divisions were written into American laws; racial violence was tolerated.

  • “Most democracies die at the ballot box”: asset-original

    “Most democracies die at the ballot box”

    S1 E1 - 4m 1s

    India, Brazil, Poland, Hungary, Hong Kong, and other states throughout the world have in recent years seen an erosion of democracy as populist leaders take control of countries, both through elections or sometimes through violent coups. “You've seen countries that had tentatively reached towards democracy after the fall of communism, most importantly, Russia, which have fallen back."

  • Preserving Democracy Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Preserving Democracy Preview

    S1 E1 - 30s

    Follow the pursuit of democracy from the Revolutionary War through recurring cycles of civil rights progress and backlash, the 2021 Capitol riot and beyond. Explore the impact of voter rights and a civics curriculum on engaged and informed citizens.

  • How the two major U.S. political parties formed: asset-original

    How the two major U.S. political parties formed

    S1 E1 - 6m 30s

    President George Washington famously warned against forming political parties, cautioning the nation in his farewell speech as he left office. He predicted that they would sew divisions within America that foreign enemies could manipulate or take advantage of. Today, experts warn of the increasing danger of political parties not immediately accepting election outcomes.

Schedule

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