In this course, we will ask what democracy is, how it functions, and how desirable it is. The course is focused on American democracy, and will cover the founding documents and Democracy in America extensively. It will also cover democratic political theory and criticisms thereof, and will cover comparative issues as well. The course will be 12 weeks and will be divided into an introductory and concluding class, as well as five topical units. Two themes emerge from the units. First, what amount of personal freedom is permissible, or should be, in a democracy? These freedoms are civic, economic, and personal, and will all be addressed in turn. Second, how does democracy function, and is it always just? Intergenerational equity, gerrymandering, federalism and rent seeking are some of the topics we will examine to try to answer this question.