American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith

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What happens when a people decide to govern themselves? America’s national treasures come to life in this compelling exhibition that examines the bold experiment to create a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith explores the history of citizen participation, debate, and compromise from the nation’s formation to today. Through objects such as Thomas Jefferson’s portable desk, used to draft the Declaration of Independence; the inkstand Lincoln used to draft the Emancipation Proclamation; and the table on which Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments, the exhibition focuses on the changing political ideals and principles of the nation, citizenship in a pluralistic society, and political participation and engagement.

Visitor Guide

A self-guided highlights tour is available online in the following languages:

English | Español | Français | Deutsch | Русский | العربية | 简体中文 | 日本語 | 한국어

Exhibition Website

Can't visit the museum to see American Democracy? Explore the historic objects and dive into the history on the exhibition website.

Traveling Exhibition

Beginning in 2019, a touring version of American Democracy integrates national collections and themes with regional stories and artifacts, supplemented by engaging multimedia experiences.

Confirmed venues include Gettysburg, PA; Greensboro, NC; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; and Pittsburgh, PA. Visit the traveling exhibit site for schedules and more information.