This course explores the sweep of US political history. In the process, it encourages participants to think critically about what 'democracy' is, how it works, and what its vulnerabilities are. We look at the history of electoral politics in the United States, exploring the ways in which politicians have both empowered and disempowered voters. We examine grass-roots efforts to gain greater power in shaping common life—and attempts to suppress those efforts. Throughout, we explore how people's concepts of 'democracy' have clashed and changed, and we examine how past conflicts have given rise to the political crises and opportunities of our own time.