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Race and U.S. Democracy

June 29, 2021

On July 4 every year the United States celebrates Independence Day on which commemorates the nation’s Declaration of Independence in 1776. While the term “democracy” does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, it seems logical to say that the 1776 document was the precursor to the 1789 Constitution of the United States which establishes a democratic form of government. It is fair to say that (although separated by 13 years) the two documents are both celebrated on the 4th of July.

An honest look at the founding of this country must include a look at what segments of the population had no voice in the new democracy. Listen to Jelani Cobb give a short history lesson on the role of race in American democracy. Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker, an educator at Columbia University, and an author.