Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy and Public Affairs

Reader 1

Emily Pears

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This thesis explores the relationship between the public and government institutions in the United States as a way to form good political leaders. While democracies rely on publics to elect responsible leaders who will act with their constituencies best interests in mind, best interests are not always clear. Furthermore, people are easily duped by demagogues and can be goaded into undermining important democratic institutions that protect rights and freedoms. This thesis first determines what the qualities of good leadership are. Then, it studies how the barriers to demagoguery envisioned by the American founders have deteriorated, partly due to changes in norms and partly due to technological advancements in mass communication. Finally, it provides a list of possible remedies to our decaying institutions and norms.