The Future of American Democracy Foundation
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in the State of the Nation
Project Areas

Foundation Project I:
American Democracy in a Dangerous World

Part 1: What is Democracy? The Birth of the Democratic Idea

Part 2: The Shaping of the Modern Democratic State

Part 3: The "Four" Branches of Government

Part 4: Exporting Democracy: Is America Still a Beacon to the World?

Foundation Project II:
The American Dream

Part 1: The Future of the American Dream

Part 2: Social Security, Medicare, and the American Dream

Part 3: Does Globalization Help or Hinder the American Dream?

Part 4: Making the World Safe for Democracy

Foundation Project III:
The American Identity

Part 1: Is There an American Identity?

Part 2: Character and Kids: Coping with Exposure to Conflicting Cultural Influences

Part 3: Education and the American Identity

Part 4: "A House Divided"? Polarization, Politicians, and the American Identity

Overview of Project Areas

      The Future of American Democracy Foundation, the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, and Yale University Press have joined together as partners in a major new project aimed at sustaining and renewing the historic vision of American democracy. The project is enlisting some of America’s best policy minds to address the full range of domestic and foreign policy issues the United States confronts in the years ahead. The project aims to develop a new, more balanced paradigm for American policymaking, one that can form the basis of a centrist consensus, uniting citizens around common aims and purposes that will genuinely meet the challenges before us.

      The first product of the Foundation is a book published in January, 2006 by Yale University Press, titled Uniting America: Restoring the Vital Center to American Democracy. Edited by Norton Garfinkle and Daniel Yankelovich, the book incorporates original essays by some of nation’s foremost policy thinkers, including, among others, Francis Fukuyama, Alan Wolfe, Thomas E. Mann, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Peter H. Schuck, William Galston, Uwe Reinhardt, and Amitai Etzioni. More studies will follow, delivered in a series of articles, position papers, conferences, lectures, and Yale University Press books.

      To bring such innovative policy ideas to the widest possible audience--and to inspire all American citizens to think systematically together about the shared policy challenges we face--the nonprofit, nonpartisan Foundation and its Yale University partners are focusing their efforts on three major subject areas. The goal is to dig beneath the surface of day-to-day political debate and identify the core public policy issues that confront us in the coming years, the real choices at stake, and the costs and benefits associated with the choices we make as a nation. Each subject area addresses major issues in a manner both balanced and compelling--with topics ranging from Social Security, Medicare, and the coming retirement crisis, to the growing burden of government and consumer debt, U.S. strategy in the war on terrorism, and the promotion of democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

      Each project area covers a different general theme. The first theme, American Democracy in a Dangerous World, reviews the origins of the idea of Democracy both before and during the creation of the United States and its preservation during the Civil War. This series then addresses the current policy issues on the role of America in supporting and exporting democracy in a global society. The second project area entitled “The Future of the American Dream” considers whether the fundamental American vision of a self-perpetuating middle class society based on equality of opportunity can be sustained in the face of current economic and social challenges. The third project area “The American Identity” digs beneath the partisan surface of current political debates to describe the shared values of Americans and how these shared values can be sustained in the modern world.

      At a time when Americans seem to be drifting apart politically, The Future of American Democracy Foundation seeks to provide the basic materials for a healthy national dialogue on the key policy choices that Americans face in the years ahead. The books, lectures and television series sponsored by the Foundation will cut through the fog of partisanship and political polarization and help Americans to form a clearer picture of the options before them. The Foundation is dedicated to helping Americans think together toward a shared democratic future.

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