2 thoughts on “America and the Practice of Democracy

  1. Thanks for this, Bob. As you know, you are going to get no argument here. Thanks so much for the work you do. I hope we can work together in the future to strengthen our democracy in this way.


  2. Thanks for this John. I see a clear role for history organizations to fill this breech. Perhaps our society isn’t as attuned to civic & social organizations as it once was. Maybe that’s because we’re too busy or have lost interest. as Appelbaum writes. Perhaps people just bristle against their inherent hierarchies.

    But history organizations and museums are bastions of the democratic (and joiner) ideals that Tocqueville noticed early in the 19th century. People feel naturally connected to them not b/c of a sense of tribalism but because they represent *us*. They’re fundamentally designed to inclucate a sense of small “r” republican values—going all the way back to Charles Willson Peale in the late 18th century through John Cotton Dana in the early 20th.

    They’ve not always lived up to those ideals, but, done well, they offer a place for people to connect to the wider community.

    This is a somewhat poorly articulated idea here in the comments, but it’s something I’m thinking about. Call me Pollyanna, but I do see opportunity here.


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