Active Democracy

Democracy is only as strong as we make it
, and citizens are responsible for continually renewing our system. When ordinary citizens engage in strengthening democracy, it helps to ensure that Abraham Lincoln’s notion of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” is alive and well. Increased participation in democracy is a critical solution to many of the challenges we face in our government and there are many innovative ways to help increase civic participation and ensure that citizens’ voices are heard.

Dream of a Nation Partner
Engaging Citizens in Democracy
America SpeaksAmericaSpeaks is a U.S.-based non-profit that provides citizens a greater voice in local, regional, and national public decisions through innovative deliberative tools. Learn more. 

Envisioning a Living Democracy

Small Planet InstituteFrances Moore Lappé “believes that ideas have enormous power and that humans are capable of changing failing ideas in order to turn our planet toward life.” Her Small Planet Institute seeks to identify the assumptions and forces—economic, political, and psychological—now taking our planet in a direction that as individuals none of us would choose. Learn more.


Read the America Speaks essay: "Citizens Strengthening Democracy"
America Speaks Essay

Read the Small Planet Institute essay: "Toward a Living Democracy"
Small Planet Institute Essay

Endnotes & References

Frances Moore Lappe: Why are we creating a world that no one wants?

What Can I Di?


You are fulfilling the most basic responsibility of every citizen on the local, state, and federal level.


Volunteer to register others to vote!

Engaging your community in the democratic process will only make it stronger. Learn more.


Find and Join an AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Meeting

You can actively engage in democracy and give guidance to decision-makers.  Experience the revitalization of American democracy.


Q: What if citizens were directly involved in the debate over how the government spends money?

A: Residents in Porto Alegre, Brazil annually hold assemblies where residents suggest, deliberate, and decide on budget blueprints. Spending on schools and healthcare has more than tripled since the program started.

Q: What if citizens decided how to balance the budget and reduce our deficit by over $1.2 trillion in the long term?

A: At an event organized by AmericaSpeaks, 3,500 people in 57 cities across America  debated the best ways to solve our budget crisis. 85% of voters wanted cuts to defense spending, 54% supported raising taxes for households earning over $1 million, and another 54% also advocated instituting a flat carbon tax.