Rethinking Civics

Civics is not something to learn in school and then forget. It is a lifelong pursuit of exercising the rights and responsibilities of adult citizenship in America. To do so, we all should understand and appreciate the core principles of the Constitution and should be aware of rejected alternatives, such as the monarchy with government by an unaccountable elite from which we declared independence.

American self-government, through elected representatives and independent judges, enjoys widespread legitimacy because it is based on the rule of law, equal protection of the laws, separation of powers, federalism, checks and balances among the various powers, and, most fundamentally, protection of the natural rights of individuals. 

Too many Americans know too little about these basic principles of American government and how they limit power so as to maintain justice and opportunity in a free society. Civic literacy is the sine qua non of civic attachments and action to improve people’s lives. A people who seek to retain their rights should know what they are and should understand the institutions most conducive to protecting them.


Visit the Civic Education Program page here.

Review several of the core principles of American government here.