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ERIC Number: ED458186
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Developing Political Tolerance. ERIC Digest.
Avery, Patricia G.
Political tolerance is the willingness to extend basic rights and civil liberties to persons and groups whose viewpoints differ from one's own. It is a central tenet of a liberal democracy. The individual rights and freedoms that U.S. citizens value encourage a wide array of ideas and beliefs, some of which may offend segments of the population. The expression of those beliefs is protected by another core democratic principle, that of majority rule with respect for the rights of individuals or groups in the minority. Without safeguards for the free expression of divergent opinions, we risk a tyranny of the majority. In a free and open society, public deliberation exposes "bad" ideas instead of suppressing them. The protection of individuals' rights, including those of individuals we dislike or with whom we strongly disagree, has often been a struggle in U.S. society. Consider the interment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the interrogation of suspected American Communists in the 1950s, or the FBI files on Vietnam War protesters. In each case, U.S. citizens tended to support the abnegation of rights for unpopular minorities. Opposition to intolerance and support for minority rights among the populace, however, can be developed through effective teaching of political tolerance in elementary and secondary schools. This digest discusses: (1) findings of research on political tolerance; (2) guidelines on teaching for political tolerance; and (3) positive consequences of effective teaching for political tolerance. (Contains 10 references.) (BB)
ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, 2805 East Tenth Street, Suite 120, Bloomington, IN 47408-2698. Tel: 800-266-3815 (Toll Free); Fax: 812-855-0455; e-mail: For full text:
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, Bloomington, IN.