Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained
The True Meaning of Democracy
At a time when people around the world are rising up to demand self-determination and Americans are locked in debate about the role of government in society, PARADISE LOST, PARADISE REGAINED: The True Meaning of Democracy offers a fresh look at what democratic governance really means.
The story begins in ancient Athens and then turns to Rome and the Italian City States. Democracy in the United States, prior to the signing of the Constitution, is explored in detail. There is a section devoted to the effects of war on emergent democracy in the Middle Ages and in France at the time of the Revolution. The book concludes with a review of recent experiments in democracy, especially in India and Latin America.
Early Americans have much to teach us. We study some of the essays, letters, and articles written by the Anti-Federalists, those who were opposed to ratification of the Constitution. They were articulate and impassioned on the subject of democracy. They understood the nature of political power and of those who would abuse it.
We revisit one of the most democratic moments in American history. In 1776, the people of Pennsylvania, ordinary folk who felt their government was not fulfilling its social responsibility, wrote their own constitution with no experts to guide their pen. By studying the form of government they created and considering the process that put it in place, we get an inside look at how democracy really works.
Democracy: What does it mean? Why does it matter? The answers to these two critical questions are to be found in PARADISE LOST, PARADISE REGAINED: The True Meaning of Democracy. Writing in 1776, Thomas Paine made a simple observation that applies as well today as we begin the transition from oligarchy to democracy: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”