ERIC Number: ED247168
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Republicanism, Civic Virtue, and Political Education.
Smith, Duane E.
The history of political education is coincident with the history of republican political theory. The basic elements of classical republican theory of government were that sovereignty resided in the people and that authority was exercised through representative institutions. Only populations which possessed republican virtues--respect for law and institution, industriousness, and frugality--were believed to be capable of such a government. These virtues were to be found in middle-class societies. Political education was understood to be the process by which such virtues were developed. When the founding fathers formed the government of the United States, they took for granted the conditions considered necessary for republicanism: America was a predominantly middle class and frugal society and was committed to education. The question now is whether this classical conception of republicanism is valid in today's context. Although the United States is no longer characterized by simplicity or a dominant middle class, the commitment to education persists. Therefore, given the absence of other conditions, civic education may be more important than ever before. Today's educators then, must decide what civic education should entail and how it should be transmitted. (LP)
Descriptors: Citizen Participation, Citizenship Education, Citizenship Responsibility, Civics, Democratic Values, Elementary Secondary Education, Government (Administrative Body), Government Role, Governmental Structure, Political Science, Political Socialization, Public Education, United States History
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the Social Science Education Consortium and the Bundeszentrale fur politische Bildung (Irsee, Bavaria, West Germany, June 18-22, 1984).