American Civics

Summary:

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

  • Susan Hanssen, RealClearPublicAffairs
    In his account of the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower, William Bradford wrote that “they knew they were pilgrimes, & looked not...
  • Wilfred M. McClay, RealClearPublicAffairs
    The Plymouth colony was not the first English colony in the New World. It was not even the first successful English colony. But it...
  • Carson Holloway, RealClearPublicAffairs
    In recent years, some prominent voices on the left have contended that America is and has been from its inception a nation established...
  • Peter C. Myers, RealClearPublicAffairs
    Mark Twain copied a friend’s remark into his notebook: “I am not an American; I am the American.” That is a claim—to be the American...
  • Our newest theme portal explores the oldest governing document still in operation: the U.S. Constitution. From the debates...
  • Our student resources portal offers opportunities for elementary school, middle school, and high school to increase their...
  • Last summer, the New York Times Magazine launched The 1619 Project on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first...
  • American slavery was a blight upon the nation dedicated to the principle that “all men are created equal.” Chattel slavery...
  • Liberty is essential to the very fabric of America. People of other nations look to America as a beacon of liberty and hope, as an example...
  • What's the meaning of the Declaration of Independence's most famous principle, that "all men are created equal”...
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Carl Cannon's Great American Stories

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Multimedia

Chris Flannery, American Story
William Allen, James Ceaser, Joseph Loconte, et al., Heritage Foundation
Wilfred McClay, James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal
Richard Epstein & Lawrence Lessig, Reason
Allen C. Guelzo & Tony Williams, Bill of Rights Institute
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