The Evolving Citizen
American Youth and the Changing Norms of Democratic Engagement
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Penn State University Press
Table of Contents
As my research on young adults and high school newspapers began many years ago while I was a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, writing this book has been very much like running a marathon. As in all marathons, the runner is ultimately responsible for his race, but no runner gets to the starting line without help nor finishes without encouragement. ...
1 AMERICAN YOUTH: WHO ARE THEY AND WHY DO THEY MATTER
The American people found themselves living in an increasingly troubled nation during the 2008 presidential election. They had to filter their electoral choices through an abundance of dire circumstances. A snapshot of the United States in September 2008, just two months before Election Day, reveals the realities facing American voters. The U.S. military had around ...
2 AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL: TEENAGERS AND SCHOLASTIC JOURNALISM
In the 1985 film The Breakfast Club, writer and director John Hughes tells the story of five high school students suffering through a full day of Saturday detention overseen by the school’s principal, Richard Vernon. The high school is located in a fictitious Illinois suburban community, and each of the (all white) students clearly represents a different segment of the high ...
3 DISLOCATED COSMOPOLITANS
In January 1845, the U.S. Congress decided to officially mandate a federal Election Day. Following the well-established tradition of early November voting, and seeking to avoid any conflict with the Catholic Church’s observance of All Saints’ Day each November 1, Congress devised the simple formula that the presidential election was to be held on the first Tuesday ...
4 REMOVED VOLUNTEERS
Presidents reflect their times. As much as any given president may frame or even change the course of American history, he is equally, if not more, constrained by the societal norms that helped him rise to power. The American people have often flirted with political outliers, but they have always eventually settled on a president who more clearly reflects their view of the world. ...
5 PROTECTIVE CRITICS
In an interview with Time magazine in March 2002, Bono, the lead singer of the rock band U2 and a political activist in the struggle to aid Third World countries, voiced his frustration over decades of singing politically motivated songs, which he had come to believe effected no real change in the world. Regarding his recent decision to engage in more traditional political actions, ...
6 INDEPENDENT JOINERS
On Sunday, March 31, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what would be his final sermon just five days before he was assassinated. Addressing a crowd of more than three thousand people at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., King chose as his topic the challenges facing the American people, who had to deal with three global revolutions: technology, weaponry, ...
7 AMERICAN EVOLUTION, DEMOCRATIC ENGAGEMENT, AND CIVIC EDUCATION
In the summer of 2001, photographer Robin Bowman began a five-year project traveling around the United States taking pictures of and talking with young adults. The result of this endeavor was the 2007 award-winning book It’s Complicated: The American Teenager. Part of what made her book so successful was Bowman’s approach to her subject: “I was not there to judge ...