In this April 8, 2016 file photo, the Statue of Liberty is seen on Liberty Island in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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Americans have disagreed about government and civic life since the country's founding, about who should vote, who should run for office and the risks of political factions. But as the U.S. nears its 241st birthday, many say democracy itself is in the dock.In 1788, the year before the French Revolution began, Americans were deciding whether to ratify the Constitution.Some founders lived long enough to watch, and bemoan the political rise of Andrew Jackson in the 1820s. Trump and supporters have cited Jackson as a favorite predecessor in the White House, a populist who defied the establishment and broke down boundaries against who might become president. Madison and others called the new government a republic, with a political hierarchy from local to state to federal, the leaders presumably becoming wiser and more dispassionate the further removed from popular whims.While Norway and several other Scandinavian countries are considered "full democracies," according to the index, the U.S. last year fell to "flawed democracy," receiving low scores for "functioning of government" and "political participation".
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