Civic Knowledge: Americans’ Ignorance of American Principles, History, & Government Can No Longer Be Ignored

December 12, 2016

Many recent studies point to a growing problem in America which can no longer be ignored.  The problem is that many Americans of all backgrounds do not possess adequate civic knowledge about our nation’s history, founding ideas, and governing institutions.  This widespread deficiency among the general public is a serious matter in a self-governing republic such as ours, which relies on an educated citizenry to govern itself.  If these trends continue, as many historians and practitioners note, America will not be able to endure as it was designed by our Founders.  Consider the findings of the following studies within the past 20 years:  … 

Without citizens’ learning of America’s founding principles and history, America as we know it cannot survive.  If Americans are unknowing of America’s heritage, our nation cannot endure as it was originally designed by the American Founders.  America’s heritage is at risk in our society, culture, institutions, and education today.

Various political, philosophical, intellectual, educational, media-informational, immigrational, socio-economic, and cultural factors have likely contributed to the nation’s civic knowledge deficiency, but one solution seems obvious.  Students and citizens, in every generation, need effective doses of civic education throughout their school years and beyond.  Americans of all ages must commit ourselves to learn, with increasing competency, about America’s founding history and philosophy—about America’s values and ideals.  We must know and apply the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  What is more, we must pass this knowledge and these values on to others and to the next generation.  Civic learning, participation, and education should continue throughout our adult lives.  This commitment is the responsibility of every American.

See the American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) for more information about this national challenge and how AHEF is working to address it.

Contributed by the American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) and Angela E. Kamrath.

This article is available as a printable PDF handout in the member resources section on  Simply sign up and login as a member (no cost) and go to the resources page.

The American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) is a non-profit organization in Houston, Texas, dedicated to the teaching and understanding of America’s philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among students and citizens.  AHEF provides FREE, downloadable, award-winning, patriotic lesson plans and educational resources to K-12/college teachers and homeschoolers on America’s founding history, documents, and philosophy.  No cost to sign up.  

Published by: The Founding

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