The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life
In 1996, less than half of all eligible voters bothered to vote. Fewer citizens each year follow government and public affairs regularly. Is popular sovereignty a failure? Not necessarily, argues Michael Schudson in this provocative history of citizenship in America. Schudson sees American politics as evolving from a "politics of assent" in colonial times and the eighteenth century, in which voting generally reaffirmed the social hierarchy of the community; to a "politics of affiliation" in the nineteenth century, in which party loyalty was paramount for the good citizen. Progressive reforms around the turn of the century reduced the power of parties and increased the role of education, making way for the "informed citizen," which remains the ideal in American civic life. Today a fourth model, "the rights-bearing citizen," supplements the "informed citizen" model and makes the courthouse as well as the voting booth a channel for citizenship.
What people are saying - Write a review
The good citizen: a history of American civic lifeUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Schudson (Watergate in American Memory, LJ 6/1/92), who has written a number of books on print and television media and journalism, has put together a most engaging work on the history of citizenship ... Read full review
The Democratic Transition
7 other sections not shown