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Colonial gentlemen
Egyptian Revolution

Can America’s government be a model for Egypt’s?

America’s democracy did not emerge immediately or easily from the Revolutionary War. The Declaration of Independence turned colonies into states, but it did not unite them into a single government. The new nation struggled under the Articles of Confederation’s weak central government until it was replaced by the Constitution in 1789. And even as the United States has stood as a symbol of freedom and democracy for two centuries, the Constitution has been amended and reinterpreted all along.

Egypt is now making its own transition to democracy following the Arab Spring and the adoption of a Constitution. Like the American experience, it is bound to be a bumpy road, with false starts and changes in direction. Egypt will learn lessons from America’s past, but what roles—political, economic, military, and other— should the U.S. play in promoting Egyptian democracy? Please comment.

Learn more about this special series "The New Egypt."



CW Connect
We have it in our power to begin the world over again. The birthday of a new world is at hand. –Thomas Paine, 1776
CW Connect
No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. –Thomas Jefferson, 1789
CW Connect
The real point here is that we have genuine political conversations now in Egypt in the public political sphere. That’s the real historic story. Whether Morsi stays or goes…There still has to be an election for parliament, which will clarify where the balance of power is. So there’s a lot of things that still have to happen before this transition period settles down…until we can really see where the center of gravity is. - Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, January 29, 2013.
Eygpt should not copy their government off America's government. Eygpt should, if they need to, embelish their governmet off ours.
While our Republic was based on religious freedom, what is emerging in Egypt is anything but. I have Christian friends there that are scared for their very life. It is one thing for a country founded by people of faith to establish a moral but "secular" government. It is a far different thing for people of the Muslim faith to establish a Muslim government.
It took a bit after the close of the Revolutionary War to decide a more powerful federal government was needed. What arrived at came about though compromise between colonies/states with different interests. It also came about from a nation of people who had lived under the British constitution and who had strong ideas of where the King and Parliment had violated that. There were many forces beyond human philosophizing that influenced things. The situation in Egypt is so different. The people have a very different history. This notion that people every where really want what we ideally have in America is a false one. Some individuals do. But about as many people out there desire to tyranize or at least put the people they don't like in there place as those who put the right to freely work and live and pursue "happiness" at a premium.
Ilene Cox
Muslim Brotherhood has no interest in having a democracy. This is why the people have taken to the streets again. The people wanted a democracy and instead ended up with a hateful dictatorship. Go talk to the people of Egypt. The women and students who hate Sharia law.
Even though my great great grandfather's grand father signed the U.S. Constitution for Maryland I believe we should not be a model for Egypt. It is clear that the United States is already seeking to force Egypt to adopt the ruinous neo liberal economic policies that have forced the west into an economic crisis that ignores both the realities of the ecology of the Earth and the needs of the people of Egypt. There need to be another wave of uprisings with a goal of introducing a real democracy. We can see what happened after the Cold War ended and western capitalists came into central and eastern Europe and ravaged the economy. The same thing happened in South Africa. We must organize a strategy of defending our rights from the global banking system and other aspects of corporate power. Otherwise democracy can not be possible.
I don't believe that any country in the Middle East would be willing to create a democracy. They seem to me to be more interested in forcing people to live against their will. I honestly don't think they will ever change.
Our Government model is not as important as the need for the Egyptian people having a voice in their Government, no matter what form that Government may take. The problem in Egypt now is the overwhelming opinion that the Government as now framed in it's Constitution does not provide that all inclusive participation. In many ways our Constitution did not provide that universal participation either, but over time the attempt to achieve universal inclusion moved forward and continues to this day. Perhaps this is a lesson for Egypt.

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