Visit Professor Amy's new website, Second-Rate Democracy: Seventeen Ways America is Less Democratic than other Major Western Countries and How We Can Do Better

About this website – a web project of Douglas J. Amy

I am a Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College, where I have taught American politics for over 20 years. My main area of expertise has been electoral system reform, and I have written a number of books including Real Choices, New Voices: How Proportional Representation Elections Could Revitalize American Democracy from Columbia University Press. I have also created a website on electoral reform: Proportional Representation Library.

I have been researching and writing the material for this online resource  for the last four years. I have been motivated primarily by my increasing frustration with the attacks on government being waged by those on the political right. The criticisms of government offered by these conservatives are often at odds with much of what we know about government through research. Moreover, I have seen the damage done in my own community when taxes have been slashed and programs cut back. And while the web is full of attacks on government, there seem to be few sites devoted to defending government – to making the case that this is a valuable and indispensable institution that deserves our support. This site is intended to balance out the debate over government and to set the record straight about this much maligned institution.


A number of people have been very helpful in developing this material and putting together this website. I wish to explicitly thank Ed Royce of Rollins College who, with no thought about his own safety or sanity, read every word of these articles. His criticisms and suggestions were immensely helpful. My son, Sam Rosen-Amy, also provided invaluable feedback and advice, both on the materials and on the construction of this website. I appreciate the patience and good humor he showed while working with his Dad on this project. I also wish to acknowledge the expertise and creativity of Browen Hodgkinson, William Alatalo, and Antonio Costa at cdeVision. They have been great to work with.