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Director’s Note: How Much Do We Love Democracy?

The latest in a series of civil discourse with the Newport Historical Society. To address a question that affects America as a whole, we assembled a diverse group that included men and women, some from academia and many not, Black and white. It was notably generationally varied, ranging from the young 20s through the 80s […]

Director’s Note: On Being American

For my grandfather, a Jewish socialist refugee from Russia/Poland in the early years of the 20th century, embracing bacon was one way to be an American. He cooked it every Sunday for his three sons while my grandmother left the house to avoid the unkosher experiment. When they were done, he hung the pan on […]

Director’s Note: American Exceptionalism on January 7th, 2021

Over the past year, the Newport Historical Society has held a series of Civic Conversations on what it means to be an American today. We could have a hell of a talk this week, after armed insurrectionists stormed and breached the US Capitol during a normally routine certification of a presidential election. Some of those […]

Director’s Note: What Should Be Part of a Patriotic Education?

This conversation focused on a topic that was inspired by the President’s recent declaration that he was establishing a project to create a patriotic educational curriculum for the United States. The President did not elaborate on what he wished to see, but did suggest that he wanted American educators to focus less on America’s flaws, […]

Director’s Note: The Truth in America Today

The fifth Civic Conversation tackled what was, apparently, the thorniest question so far: do we, in America today, have a shared set of facts and a shared vision of what is true? The answer is both resounding and equivocal – no, we don’t. But. Given this, moderator Jim Ludes started us off with the most […]

Director’s Note: A Conversation about Protest in America

“This is my fourth Civic Conversation,” said one participant, “but it is the first time that I thought the topic has a clear answer. Of course protest is patriotic.” There was broad consensus in the group that protest has a long American legacy and that it is, as was said, embedded in our Constitution and […]