In his inaugural address in 1941, Franklin Roosevelt maintained, "Democracy is not dying." However by 2011 there were concerns expressed about the public lack of basic civic knowledge to become engaged, informed citizens (such as the branches of government – executive, legislative, judicial; the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances).
"Democracy is taught from one generation to another," one said. "Knowledge of our system of government is not handed down through the gene pool," another added. John Dewey emphasized, "Democracy needs to be born anew every generation, and education is the midwife."
September 17, 2013 marked the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson made the observation back in 1816, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
One civics project on the subject 'What democracy means?' saw an eight grade pupil jotted down, "Democracy is a way of life which liberty loving mankind has been struggling to achieve through the ages. Democracy means to me individual freedom under law made by representative of the people themselves. It permits me to worship as I choose, to get an education, to think, talk, write and act as I please, so long as I do not interfere with the rights of others. I can travel freely and select my friends. I have the right to seek any work that I am able to do. I have the right to own my home, a sacred institution. I am privileged to vote, in secret, for those who govern me, and to criticize my government."
It was pointed out in 2006, "Students were really critical about how school government and civics classes were taught. They didn't feel that they had the information they needed to turn them into voters...It's not that they were apathetic about voting; they just didn't want to look foolish in the process."
Al Gore made the comment in 2000, "I think that it is important for the integrity of our democracy to make sure that every vote is counted. Especially in a close election because the foundation of our constitutional self-government is the consent of the governed. That consent must be freely given in accordance with the procedures outlined in our Constitution. And it is given in presidential elections by voters who express their will at the ballot box. And it is a relatively simple principle that lies at the heart of our democracy that every vote that is legally cast must be fairly and accurately counted in accordance with the law. That is a relatively simple principle, it seems to me, and it is a principle that must be upheld in order to make certain that the will of the American people is not only expressed but heard and abided by."