Thomas Jefferson's conviction that the health of the nation's democracy would depend on the existence of an informed citizenry has been a cornerstone of our political culture since the inception of the American republic. Even today's debates over education reform and the need to be competitive in a technologically advanced, global economy are rooted in the idea that the education of rising generations is crucial to the nation's future. In this book, Richard Brown traces the development of the ideal of an informed citizenry in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries and assesses its continuing influence and changing meaning. Although the concept had some antecedents in Europe, the full articulation of the ideal relationship between citizenship and knowledge came during the era of the American Revolution. The founding fathers believed that the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press, religion, speech, and assembly would foster an informed citizenry. According to Brown, many of the fundamental institutions of American democracy and society, including political parties, public education, the media, and even the postal system, have enjoyed wide government support precisely because they have been identified as vital for the creation and maintenance of an informed populace.
Ch. 1. English Subjects and Citizens from the Reformation through the Glorious Revolution -- Ch. 2. Freedom and Citizenship in Britain and Its American Colonies -- Ch. 3. Bulwark of Revolutionary Liberty: The Recognition of the Informed Citizen -- Ch. 4. Shaping an Informed Citizenry for a Republican Future -- Ch. 5. The Idea of an Informed Citizenry and the Mobilization of Institutions, 1820-1850 -- Ch. 6. Testing the Meaning of an Informed Citizenry, 1820-1870 -- Epilogue: Looking Backward: The Idea of an Informed Citizenry at the End of the Twentieth Century.
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 9th November 2000
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press