RealClearPublicAffairs is a new series of sponsored curation designed to provide coverage of important and trending public policy issues. It's a deep dive into curated content that we think will engage our audience and deepen their understanding of topical concerns facing our nation's decisionmakers.

The American republic rests upon the foundation of “E Pluribus Unum” — out of many, one. Although the Founders knew from their own experience that a vast diversity in outlooks and opinions would be present among the country’s citizens, they understood that such diversity must rest upon principles and practices we hold in common. It is up to each generation to make sure that this foundational unity remains intact. This project on American Civics seeks to contribute to that worthy cause.

These pages will bring together, into one place, the clearest, most accessible materials on the American experiment. Visitors will gain insight into topics ranging from the “self-evident” truths described in the Declaration of Independence and the framework that the Constitution set in place to prevent tyranny and secure rights and liberties to the virtues citizens must possess in order to enjoy freedom and self-government. Nor will we shy away from exploring the greatest injustices in U.S. history, including slavery and racial discrimination. Present at the Founding, they were departures from the nation’s founding principles. Neither this paradox, nor these injustices define the American Identity, however. Rather, it is on the basis of those principles that they are rightly condemned—and ultimately addressed.  

Users will also find the 1776 Series: a collection of accessible essays written by scholars that explore how the American Founders understood themselves and the system of government they implemented. These essays will give readers a clear and concise understanding of important American themes, such as the republican nature of the U.S. Constitution and Abraham Lincoln’s deep appreciation of the moral foundations of American self-government. These pages will also curate modern thinking on topics such as balancing the desire for security with the innate American impulse for individual freedom; the challenge of preserving judicial independence in a polarized political environment; how to simultaneously foster intellectual curiosity and tolerance among a generation ready to take democracy’s baton and run with it.

About RealClear's American Civics Portal

Taking Federalism Seriously

Federalism is like a diet. Both the Left and Right try to stick to it, but each abandons it when its craving for the policy equivalent...

The Compound Fractures of Identity Politics

Every citizen fatality in the custody of a government official—like George Floyd’s excruciating death in Minneapolis—deserves...

Symposium: Where Should the Right Go?

Political defeats ought to occasion reflection on any political party or movement’s goals. But the end of the Trump administration...

The 1776 Commission Report

In the course of human events there have always been those who deny or reject human freedom, but Americans will never falter...

Podcast: Paul Revere's Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow has been called, “the most popular poet in American history.” When Longfellow wrote, few Americans...

Podcast: Conversations On Presidents and First Ladies

In this first episode of 2021, White House Historical Association President Stewart D. McLaurin introduces the Association’s popular...

Abraham Lincoln's Political Philosophy

What constitutional principles comprised Lincoln’s political philosophy? In this week's Scholar Talk, BRI Senior Teaching Fellow Tony Williams...

Teaching for Virtue: K-12 Classical Education

We believe that the liberal arts in particular and liberal education in general are the surest, most time-tested way to direct students...

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“America well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own…she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.” So cautioned John Quincy Adams on the Fourth of July in 1821.

Have generations of Americans since heeded the counsel of our sixth president?

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It’s been three-quarters of a century since the Axis powers were defeated, nearly 30 years since the Iron Curtain was lifted, and 19 years since terrorists weaponized planes on U.S. soil, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. Today, America is neither entrenched in a great war, nor frozen in the kind of nuclear game of chicken that induced Baby Boomers to undergo fire drills that had them hiding under their elementary school desks. We are not anticipating another 9/11-style terrorist attack.

Yet the U.S. military is still operating in 40 percent of the nations of the world. It is has been engaged in nation-building efforts in Afghanistan for the better part of two decades. Some $5.9 trillion has been spent to fight the “war on terror” in that time only to see the pool of jihadists grow ever-larger. Little wonder that nearly half of Americans believe U.S. foreign policy over the last 20 years has made the country less safe.

The newest addition to the RealClearPublicAffairs family seeks to address and answer the profound questions raised by this experience: Is there a realistic alternative to this expansive, global military footprint? Would a different approach better ensure America’s security and prosperity? If America cannot be the world’s policeman, what grand strategy should guide U.S. foreign policy? The mission of these pages is to provide a curated and serious examination of these vital questions.

RealClearPublicAffairs is a new series of sponsored curation designed to provide coverage of important and trending public policy issues. More About

The Growth of the “Camo Economy” and the Commercialization of the Post-9/11 Wars

Bottom line: The privatization and commercialization of foreign policy objectives through military contractors has led to increased government costs because contractors lack competit...

A New Direction: A Foreign Policy Playbook on Military Restraint for the Biden Team

Bottom line: U.S. foreign policy is broken and does not work in the best interests of ordinary Americans. The Biden Administration has the opportunity to fundamentally reorient Ameri...

Nuclear Anti‐Proliferation Policy and the Korea Conundrum: Some Policy Proposals

Bottom line: The U.S. should give up efforts to prevent North Korea from attaining a nuclear weapon and use South Korea to renormalize relations with Pyongyang. This detente may not ...

Power, Profit, or Prudence? US Arms Sales Since 9/11

Bottom line: The United States is doing too little to incorporate risk assessments into its arms sales decisions. It should analyze arms sales along a risk matrix assessment and avoi...

Grand Strategy Symposium

History has made something of a comeback since Francis Fukuyama provocatively announced its untimely death at the closing of the Cold War. Since 2016, the biggest and most decisive g...

US Ends Support for Offensive Saudi Military Actions in Yemen

In February 2021, President Joe Biden announced the end of Washington’s support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” military actions in Yemen. Dr. Annelle Sheline, an advisor at Gulf State Analytics, discusses further steps that are necessary for fully resolving the Yemeni civil war as well as what the future of US-Iran relations means for the war-torn Arab country.

Myanmar, Genocide, and the Responsibility to Protect

This week on Empire Has No Clothes, Kelley, Matt, and I discussed the situation in Myanmar and how far the so-called “responsibility to protect” might extend. We also talked with John Allen Gay of the John Quincy Adams Society about why young people are embracing foreign policy restraint.

Was Trump a Realist or a Wrecking Ball?

This week on Empire Has No Clothes, Kelley, Dan, and I discussed the president’s final moves on foreign policy and how Mike Pompeo is maneuvering to be his heir. We also talked with John Glaser at the Cato Institute about Donald Trump’s legacy and whether he’s done more harm than good.

Primacy Anxiety

Chris, Melanie, and Zack debate whether the United States should pursue primacy. They discuss the Donald Trump administration’s “Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific,” and compare some of its recommendations with Stephen Wertheim’s recent article on “Delusions of Dominance.”

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Free speech, freedom of association, viewpoint diversity, and open inquiry--these principles are essential to the educational mission of the university, and to the health of civil society.

RealClearPublicAffairs' Free Speech on Campus page is designed to be the leading online forum where conversation on these critical issues can take place.

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In 1974, Yale University published a document officially titled the Report on the Committee of Free Expression at Yale. Widely known as the Woodward Report, after its chairman C. Vann Woodward, it contained this unequivocal line:

“The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.”

This was not a new insight. Although he died 150 years before the American Revolution, Francis Bacon hit unerringly on the requirements of a genuine education: reading, writing, and debate. Today, however, college campuses in the United States and much of the western world are replacing debate with coerced conformity. 

The result is an environment that once would have been considered an anathema to the very purpose of higher education: Rigorous exchanges of competing ideas have been replaced by university speech codes, constricted speech zones, commencement speaker “disinvitations, and “no-platforming,” which is university-speak for the heckler’s veto.

Some institutions are pushing back against this trend. By the summer of 2019, 67 U.S. institutions of higher learning had adopted the so-called “Chicago Statement” or a “substantially similar” statement guaranteeing freedom of speech on campus. That leaves nearly 1,600 schools that haven’t, including, ironically, Yale.

A majority of college students, according to a seminal Brookings Institution survey, do not fully support the precepts of the First Amendment; and one-fifth of them believe it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who is making “offensive and hurtful statements.”

These students are tomorrow’s judges, jurors, legislators, journalists, and teachers. Operating under the conviction that freedom of speech is essential to the educational mission of the university, and ultimately to the survival of civil society, this page is designed to provide a platform for conversation on this critical topic.

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The most important event in economic history: the harnessing of heat to do work. First coal, then oil, and later natural gas – hydrocarbon energy powered the Industrial Revolution and transformed humanity’s existence for the better. Growth rates in the one and a half millennia before the Industrial Revolution averaged approximately zero. Since then, per capita incomes in a typical free-market economy have risen by amounts ranging from several hundred to several thousand percent.

Visual Capitalist

Yet today, businesses and consumers face demands for the forcible phasing out of fossil fuel energy over the next three decades to stop global temperatures rising by a half a degree Centigrade. This is not just incompatible with capitalism. It is incompatible with modern living. Some six in every seven humans today still live in undeveloped countries. Non-Western nations aspiring to Western standards of living now account for around three-fourths of global CO2 emissions. For this reason alone, whatever the US and other western nations do, net zero by mid-century is simply not going to happen.

Energy policy should be based on facts and reason, from the fundamental physics of energy production and storage to the relation between energy and economic growth. This page is meant to serve as a clearinghouse for research, news, and multimedia that can inform debate over the major energy policy questions of today. Together, these curated materials lay the foundation for the policies that will ensure reliable and affordable energy for businesses and consumers and help the economy bounce back once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, as well as chart a course for genuine environmental stewardship. 

Pennsylvania is a microcosm of the United States. The state that sparked the American Revolution and fueled the nation’s industrial growth is playing an outsized role in public policy and socioeconomic trends. Its culturally distinct regions—from large metro hubs and sprawling suburbs to Rust Belt cities and rural counties—serve as a crucial bellwether in electoral politics.

From energy and technology to demographics and urban affairs, the Commonwealth figures prominently in national policy discussions. The Covid-19 crisis will only further showcase Pennsylvania as a battleground for public policy. 

This page features noteworthy research, analysis, commentary, and news stories curated from Pennsylvania-based media outlets, national publications, and think tanks. We will examine the most important policy questions confronted by Pennsylvanians.

RealClearPublicAffairs is a new series of sponsored curation designed to provide coverage of important and trending public policy issues. More About