What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation

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Houston | Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Do We Still Know How to Be Good Citizens?

I Will Do My Best, Norman Rockwell, 1945. Courtesy of the National Scouting Museum, Boy Scouts of America. Copyright Brown & Bigelow.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Americans talk a lot about the importance of good citizenship. But what does it mean to be a good citizen? By many measures, we may be falling short. American voter turnout is low compared to other nations, and in online discussion we’re quick to attack others who disagree with our point of view. How have Americans defined and lived citizenship, past and present? Are we really less civil now than we were in previous eras? The Washington Post “Civilities” columnist Steven Petrow, Texas A&M University historian …

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