September 19, 2005
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School
This speech was delivered at The National Conference on Citizenship: Promoting Civic Participation and Civic Dialogue, which took place on September 19, 2005, in Washington, DC. This annual conference provides the nation's leading scholars, educators, state and federal officials, and leaders of non-profit organizations the opportunity to assess the civic health of the United States and to develop a common agenda. In this speech, Stephen Goldsmith suggests three tests for judging the state of the civic union of the U.S. The first test is cognitive--what do Americans know about the country's history, core ideas, and values. The second is operational--are citizens translating that knowledge into civic action. And the third test is aspirational--do young adults believe in, and strive to be part of, the great American Experiment.
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