• Length:
    7 Weeks
  • Effort:
    1–3 hours per week
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    Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD

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  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time

About this course

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When you read the Declaration of Independence do you feel inspired? Do you question those words? Do you think about what this means today?

Constitutional democracy is not just what was written on paper nearly 250 years ago; it is a living activity. It’s about what citizens need to do to make democracy work, about identifying your civic beliefs and duties and what matters to you and why—and how you can become an active participant in your communities and influence your government.

In We the People: Civic Engagement in a Constitutional Democracy, you will gain a foundational knowledge of American constitutional democracy and understand how to encourage others to explore their own civic paths, while in parallel crafting your own civic voice and identity. You'll learn about rights and responsibilities, constitutionalism, the philosophical foundations of democracy, and the levers of change. This course is built on more than ten years of academic research through the Democratic Knowledge Project, an initiative of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

Don’t sit back—your civic actions are just beginning.

What you'll learn

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  • Tell a story of self that explains what you value and why and the kind of communities and government in which you’d like to live
  • Understand what it looks like when rights are not protected and how constitutional democracies are designed to secure rights
  • Understand how and why U.S. democracy was built as it was, how it has changed over time, and what the levers of change are in this constitutional democracy
  • Move from “I” to “We” in order to connect your own interests with those of broader communities, with awareness of how a diversity of perspectives and experiences can be integrated in the story of what U.S. democracy has been historically and can be in the future
  • Differentiate and choose among the civic roles available to people who live in a constitutional democracy
  • Express your opinions in public forums and create your next step plans as a civic participant

Meet your instructors

Danielle Allen
James Bryant Conant University Professor
Harvard University

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