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A New Land

What Kind of Government Should We Have?

Joni Doherty

42 pages
National Issues Forums Institute
It is the spring of 1787. We are now in a critical period. Our new republic is unstable and the liberty we won just four years ago is threatened. We've lost the unity inspired by our fight against Britain. Trade is difficult and our physical safety is uncertain. There are conflicts within and threats from without.

The current state of affairs has sparked conversations in pubs and shops, town squares and farmyards. Everywhere, people are asking the same questions: What should we do? How will we survive? How can our hard-won liberty be sustained? The questions boil down to this: What kind of government should we have?

This historic decisions issue guide presents three options for deliberation:

1. Strengthen the Current Partnership Among Equals

2. Create a Strong Central Government

3. Let States Govern Themselves

Author Bio
Joni Doherty is a program officer at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio. She directs research on the deliberative framing of historical issues, and she leads exchanges with libraries and humanities groups. Doherty has a longstanding interest in discourse ethics and the ways in which the arts and humanities can foster democratic practices. She is also involved with projects that investigate the ways in which deliberation and democracy intersect with teaching and learning in higher education. Before the Kettering Foundation, Doherty was the director of the New England Center for Civic Life at Franklin Pierce University and taught in the American studies and philosophy programs. She has more than 20 years experience with National Issues Forums and is an alumna institute member. Doherty earned a BFA in painting at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, a MA in cultural studies at Simmons College, Boston, and a PhD in philosophy and art theory from the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts in Portland, Maine.