Compass is an online journal that provides a space for the work of talented undergraduates who have original and well-articulated insights on important ideas and issues relating to American democracy understood in the broad contexts of political philosophy, history, literature, economics, and culture. Compass is a joint project of the Tocqueville Forum at Northern Illinois University and the Center for Political Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University.
Defining someone as a criminal carries serious consequences for the individual in terms of a denial of resources, increased surveillance, incarceration, and dehumanization, and also for society as a whole.
Equality is treated as a universal and invariable concept, yet in practice authors manipulate it constantly to articulate their own interpretations, inadvertently transforming it into a political conception.
The political life of William F. Buckley Jr. stands as a model for reinvigorating the civic virtue that the American founders recognized as necessary.
Originalism best reflects the Founding Fathers’ faith in self-government and also best preserves the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Is it possible for a society to be good without liberty? Bacon’s The New Atlantis and Le Guin’s The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas both aid in exploring this important question.
A root cause of Haiti’s poverty is the IMF’s structural adjustment plan. A solution based on Chinese aid, unlike neo-liberal policies, allows Haiti to protect its rice and other industries.
The Ninth Amendment is not a one-off historical anachronism aimed at protecting nonexistent rights. Instead, it should be construed by the courts as a bulwark against undue governmental interference in people’s private lives.
This article assesses the gulf between Tocqueville’s claim that human beings have naturally transcendent souls and his observations of the democratic souls of Americans.
Hamilton is often sidelined in favor of other founders such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The Tocqueville Forum students featured here reconsider Hamilton’s legacy, aided by careful reading of Hamilton’s own writings.
Has slowing class mobility caused the shift in American culture away from the traditional “American Dream”? Or has this shift in American culture caused slowing class mobility?
The debate around banning pornography that objectifies women fractured the feminist movement. Future attempts to outlaw pornography will follow the precedent set forth in Osbourne v. Ohio and attempt to ban pornography in order to protect public health and safety.