Is Our Civic Life Really In Decline?

VOTER TURNOUT MAY BE DOWN IN RECENT YEARS, BUT THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE COMMON CITIZEN HAS GROWN TO FAR SURPASS ANYTHING THE FOUNDING FATHERS EVER DREAMED OF

If you look at the decline in voter turnout since 1960 or the steady decrease in young people’s interest in electoral politics, it is easy to get the idea that America’s democratic experiment stands on increasingly shaky ground. Voter turnout fell from 63 percent in 1960 to 49 percent in 1996. In national surveys 58 percent of college freshmen in 1966 said they considered it important to keep abreast of political affairs; by 1996 only 29 percent felt that way. Has our era broken trust with a great heritage?

 
Read more »

Personal Recollections Of The War By A Private Soldier

By one of those happy accidents that nourish historians and magazines of history, an antiques dealer, sorting through the contents of the attic of a house in Mahopac, New York, in 1962, came across two notebooks that had apparently belonged to a Union soldier in the Civil War. She promptly bought them. One of the volumes contained copies of letters; the other, in a different hand, had a title page written in elaborate calligraphy, as shown at the left.Read more »