Democracy needs politeness

Drafting the Declaration of Independence by Alonzo Chappel (1828-87). L – r; Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin The Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY, USA/Bridgeman Autocrats shouted, cursed, and bullied, while American revolutionaries used politeness as a tool of radical politics Steven Bullock is professor of history at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. His research focuses on Colonial and Revolutionary America. Long before current fears about incivility in public life – before anxieties about Twitter-shaming and cable-news name-calling – politeness was very much on the minds of United States leaders. In 1808, the US president … Continue reading Democracy needs politeness