American Democracy and the World
America became a democracy in 1789 when the US Constitution came into force. Indeed, America was the only democracy in the western world at that time, and in a sense started it all. Based on America’s example, democracy spread over the years. In 1987, on the US Constitution’s bicentennial, Time magazine calculated that “of 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the US version”. However, time has moved on while the US Constitution, except for 27 important amendments, has remained in its original form. (See The New York Times “We the People Loses Followers”, 2/7/2012).
America also has, and continues to, champion human rights. This started with the American Declaration of Independence (“…all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…), July 4, 1776 and continued with the passage of the Bill of Rights, on December 15, 1791. US Citizens also championed the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. Eleanor Roosevelt, a leading advocate for a UN statement on human rights, chaired the Committee that drafted the Declaration. America also played a key role in the establishment of the United Nations, established October 24, 1945.