Power  /  Video

Fights Over American Democracy Reach Back to the Founding Era

In early America, the soaring ideals behind establishing a new democracy were marked by cycles of progress and backlash.

Embedded video

If the video does not load or is not working, it may be a problem with the video service, or you may need to turn off an ad blocking browser extension.

From its earliest days, the idea of American democracy has been disputed and contested. Though the founders wanted to experiment with a democratic system in their new country, they were also deeply wary of ceding too much power to the people. This video chronicles the often violent development of American democracy from just after the end of the Revolutionary War through the tumultuous debates over slavery that led to the Civil War. This video segment is an excerpt from The WNET Group’s documentary “Preserving Democracy: Pursuing a More Perfect Union.”