Jill Lepore’s Article the Last Time Democracy Almost Died

The horrible state of democracy people all over the world from the 1930s had to endure, to the point where democracy almost died. Lepore goes in-depth as she reveals the way leaders felt about American society while also talking about the views citizens had on the downfall of democracy and whether they thought it was ruined forever.

The purpose of this article is to inform the public society about the unbelievable change democracy has come to in the 21st-century from how bad and unstable it was not even a century ago.

Although there were some people very passionate about the equality and rights of the people, there were others who didn’t care to try and save the economy. The author tries to illustrate the era by giving examples of what life was without a democracy of quality.

Body Paragraph #1:

Lepore begins the article by giving examples of how democracy has been talked about just anywhere whether it’s at the dinner table, over the radio or in meetings by people who are very passionate about their beliefs and are not afraid to stand for what they think is right or wrong.

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When discussing the democratic way of life, people started to raise their voices at each other stating that the person talking was a liar and they didn’t know what they were talking about. “You are a liar!” one guy shouted from the audience during a political debate heard on the radio by ten million Americans, from Missoula to Tallahassee” (Lepore).

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This is an example from the article showing how much people didn’t care to speak their minds. Democracy was so bad, everyone was all over the place and the society was slowly falling apart. They suffered, hungered, and wondered when and if it would ever end.

Body Paragraph #2:

After the suffering of citizens had gotten worse, the author goes into talking about how Woodrow Wilson’s administration had promised that winning the Great war would make the world safe and stable enough for a good democracy. Many more democracies in the world fell into place after a while but just when they thought everything was going good, they would fall again.

“Epitaphs for democracy are the fashion of the day,” stated by Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter in 1930” (Lepore). Women and men started to contemplate whether they thought the western system would even work or if it would just fall like everything else. The old relationships between great masses of the people had disappeared and ever since Hitler came, he separated people and there were many changes because of it.

This example is a representation of how inevitable democracy is affecting not just societies but the whole world and their relationships with each other.

Last Body Paragraph:

Roosevelt wanted to fix things so he thought starting a campaign would rescue the horrible state American democracy was in by providing the New Deal to help American people. He included the 3 R’s, Relief, Reform, and Recovery as a way to improve the economic structure.

People liked the way Roosevelt was thinking and after majority state votes Roosevelt was then taken into office and congress gave him full right to do whatever he thought was best for America. Thankfully new dealers made a change. “New Dealers were trying to save the economy; they ended up saving democracy. They built a new America; they told a new American story” (Lepore).

The example provided shows how well Roosevelt ran the new deal and his people into succeeding in saving democracy. Many people from all over the country came together to work on labor projects by constructing roads, bridges, and dams and joining together in a common endeavor. Using the new and improved radio, people were able to share voices and actually take each other’s ideas into consideration.


All in all, Jill Lepore’s point of this article was to portray facts on democracy that developed in the 1930s by having a strong take on reasons as to why it was so messed up.

The examples I used show how eager people were to try and save their community and the world as a whole. The people who were listening to the political debate over the radio spoke their minds very passionately. Wilson stated that after the Great War democracy would be stable and surprisingly for a while it was but eventually it fell again. Roosevelt started the new deal and many people were involved in projects with the goal of saving America’s democracy which they did.

After giving reasons that supported the claim of the article I think it tied everything together and went well with the authors’ point of view of the 1930s which was very critical.

In the end, democracy changed America and the world forever. It worked and failed so many times as if it was like a rollercoaster going up and down and although American democracy in the 21st century is not perfect it is holding up way better than it had before.

Updated: Nov 18, 2022
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Jill Lepore’s Article the Last Time Democracy Almost Died. (2022, Nov 18). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/jill-lepore-s-article-the-last-time-democracy-almost-died-essay

Jill Lepore’s Article the Last Time Democracy Almost Died essay
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