American Civics


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

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Essential Reading

  • Our newest theme portal features resources for students in elementary school, middle school, and high school...
  • Tony Williams, RealClearPublicAffairs
    In recent years, American civic culture has suffered deep cleavages. Civil conversations have been poisoned by battles over the meaning of America’s past...
  • Wilfred M. McClay, Hillsdale College
    This course explores the history of America as a land of hope founded on high principles. In presenting the great triumphs and achievements...
  • Is America fundamentally defined by slavery or the principles of the Declaration of Independence? Find out here...
  • What's the meaning of the Declaration of Independence's most famous principle, that "all men are created equal”...
  • How should we think about American slavery in light of the principle of natural human equality...
  • Learn how Americans past and present understand the meaning of liberty...
  • Dennis Hale & Marc Landy, RealClearPublicAffairs
    It’s hard not to notice that in the United States, political arguments frequently turn on questions that, in other democracies, nobody talks about...
  • William B. Allen, RealClearPublicAffairs
    As George Washington’s first presidential administration, the first term of government under the United States Constitution...
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In the News

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Carl Cannon's Great American Stories

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Chris Flannery, American Story
Thomas Krannawitter & Lucas Morel, Heritage Foundation
Fred Lucas & Jarrett Stepman, Right Side of History
Glenn Loury, Sherlett Hendy, et al., Braver Angels
Jeffrey Sikkenga & Rollye James, WGN Radio
Robert P. George & Rick Graber, Bradley Foundation
Wilfred Reilly & Roderick Graham, Braver Angels
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