ERIC Number: ED344817
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
The Civic Culture of the United States and Its Challenges to Civic Educators.
Patrick, John J.
The core civic ideas that helped form a consensus around a United States Constitution in 1787 are the seeds that produce the civic culture of the United States today. Constitutionalism, republicanism, communitarianism, and classical liberalism were related ideas at the center of U.S. civic culture in the 1780s. Two hundred years later, with some modifications, these ideas continue to be the fundamentals of the contemporary civic culture in the United States. In general, people in the United States remain committed to the civic culture embodied by these principles. However, there are serious deficiencies, such as persistent intolerance of unpopular minorities, great indifference to responsibilities of participation for the common good, gross ignorance of constitutional principles combined with thoughtless reverence for the "American Creed," and finally, a declining interest in and sense of concern for the commonwealth, the national, and local communities that citizens share as members of a civil society. In order to contend with these deficiencies, civic education should be emphasized in all nationwide programs for improvement of teaching and learning in elementary and secondary schools. A number of recommendations in this regard are made, including the establishment of national standards for the teaching and learning of civics, which emphasize the origins and development of core ideas of the civic culture. Current efforts by some educators, made in the name of multicultural education, to separate and promote ethnic and racial group identities, place in jeopardy a common U.S. identity based on core civic ideas. A list of references is included. (DB)
Descriptors: Citizen Participation, Citizenship Education, Citizenship Responsibility, Civics, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Democratic Values, Elementary Secondary Education, Multicultural Education, Political Attitudes, Political Issues, Political Science, Student Attitudes, United States History
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: United States Constitution
Note: Paper presented at an international conference on "Western Democracy and Eastern Europe" (Berlin, Germany, October 13-18, 1991).