Global Leadership

Freedom and Democracy

Affirming the values of freedom and democracy, strengthening the institutions that secure these values at home, and helping to spread them abroad.


of Americans favor the U.S. government taking steps to support democracy and human rights in other countries


of Americans believe it is important to live in a country governed democratically

For more than 75 years, the liberal international order has secured peace, advanced justice, and expanded prosperity in the United States and around the world. American leadership has been central to its success.

Today, that order appears to be under attack. The global rise in populism, illiberalism, nationalism, and protectionism have raised questions about the importance of democratic standards to the future of our country and the world.

Americans care about democracy, but there's cause for concern.  According to The Democracy Project report by the Bush Institute, Freedom House, and Penn Biden Center, 84% of Americans want to live in a democracy.

Still, a crisis of confidence exists in how our democracy works in practice. Many feel systemic issues like racism and discrimination and the influence of money in politics are eroding the functioning of our democracy.

It is in America's interest to restore faith in democracy and strengthen the values of freedom worldwide.

We know that free governments are the only way to ensure that the strong are just and the weak are valued. We know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.

President George W. Bush at the Spirit of Liberty, October 19, 2017

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Chris Walsh
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Michael Bailey
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Joseph Kim
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Nicole Bibbins Sedaca Kelly and David Pfeil Fellow George W. Bush Institute Full Bio
Victor Cha
Victor Cha Senior Fellow George W. Bush Institute Full Bio