Tjerandsen -- Education Citizenship

Preface | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8  | Chapter 9 | Bibliography | Appendices | List of Acronyms | About the Author

Chapter 1

Getting Started


The Committee on Education for American Citizenship

Discussions between representatives of the trustees of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation (ESF) and Professor Louis Wirth led to an application dated October 22, 1951, from the Division of Social Sciences of the University of Chicago for study grant in the amount of $25,300. Upon approval of the application (in December 1951), the division organized an interdisciplinary committee of faculty members, the Committee on Education for American Citizenship, to undertake a report on matters of concern to the Foundation.'

To provide guidance for the Foundation, the university group had proposed to analyze the concept of civic education in its historical dimensions; to identify and describe the principal types of existing programs of civic education; to analyze their assumptions, purposes and methods; to comment on the effectiveness of such programs; to identify areas in which promising experiments might be undertaken as part of a plan for the advancement of civic education; and to suggest those topics on which research and action would be appropriate. As it turned out, the sudden and untimely death of Louis Wirth, along with the fact that the funds requested proved to be inadequate to the project envisaged, resulted in t shift in relative emphasis from a scholarly research report to the development of a set of guidelines for the Foundation, from a theoretical to a practical view of the task.

Early in the discussions of the committee and the seminar,2 which was organized to carry on continuing discussions of the subject, it was decided to compile "a national directory of organizations, programs and activities bearing significantly upon civic education." On the basis of a preliminary investigation, nearly a thousand organizations were identified as possibilities for inclusion in such a directory. After protracted correspondence and winnowing some 600 responses, over 300 organizations and programs were subsequently included in the directory published in 1954 by University College of the University of Chicago and in a supplement published in 1959 by Michigan State College.3 What seemed obvious to the committee staff as they examined the documents supplied by the organizations responding to the inquiry was that the concept of citizenship was apparently taken for granted. Only rarely was there an explicit definition. And where such definitions could be postulated by inference, the resulting range of meanings was quite broad.

The diffuseness of the field of citizenship education suggested the value of organizing the directory on a more meaningful basis than would be provided by merely alphabetizing the entries. Thus, Robert Horwitz commented in the introduction to the directory:

In the attempt to achieve a proper functional definition of civic education, the principle has been followed of including all programs that may reasonably be considered to be trying to strengthen allegiance to the nation or to foster understanding of our form of democracy or to be designed to strengthen our political order or democratic society.

Proceeding from this principle, there have been identified and utilized in the organization of the directory three major categories of programs; these embrace the comprehensive areas of Americanization and strengthening of patriotic allegiance, political comprehension and participation, and the maintenance or strengthening of conditions which are considered to be necessary for a democratic society.

In addition to the classification principle described above, entries were further classified as to their principal clienteles: school age, college-age, or adult.4

And an even clearer picture of the application of the principle based on program purpose emerges from the following excerpt:

1. Under the category of "Americanization," organizations have been included which offer instruction to aliens preparing themselves for formal naturalization or which are primarily engaged in assisting immigrants. Since the primary intention of these programs is to create or strengthen patriotic allegiance, there are also included in this area other programs which work to strengthen the direct ties of the individual to the nation. Included in this category, for example, are a number of patriotic organizations which foster allegiance through teaching the historical traditions of our nation and promoting respect for national symbols.

2. Under the category of political comprehension and participation (herein referred to as "Political Democracy"), there are included organizations which offer instruction designed to preserve and strengthen democratic political institutions and practices. Democracy, characterized in this political sense, is a way of governing and of being governed; and the pro-grams of many organizations are currently concerned with the creation and maintenance of democratic governmental structures and techniques.

Among such programs, for example, are those which are concerned with the promotion of effectively functioning political parties, with the stimulation of electoral participation and with discussion of political issues. Such activities are not possible unless fundamental civil liberties are maintained, thereby making possible free discussion and choice. There have therefore been included in this category organizations whose activities may be defined as political in the broadest sense.

3. Under the category entitled "Democratic Society," there have been included organizations which offer instruction concerned with the development and improvement of those aspects of society which are asserted to be necessary for a democratic way of life. Many programs in this area proceed from the view that, while democracy as a mode of political organization may guarantee men equality before the law and equality as voting units, this is not sufficient. They are prone to assert that even more basic for the preservation of democracy is the equality associated with the exercise of fundamental personal rights and the equality of opportunity to realize legitimate human ambitions. Part of the necessary task of civic education from this point of view is the offering of instruction in activities designed to insure a society which enables men to achieve their full potentialities. Among programs of this type are those which instruct the citizen in such things as techniques of building attitudes of friendliness and cooperation and the cultivation of proper qualities of character and personality, including the development of physical and moral courage and the protection of the health and safety of the individual. Included also in this category are many denominational programs which are concerned with the ways in which sound character can be developed and with the teaching of ethical beliefs which are considered fundamental to a democratic society. Other programs emphasize the role of voluntary associations, in the belief that a democratic society is possible only where there are centers of organizational power of a nongovernmental character. In this category are programs which teach ways and means of improving the quality of these voluntary associations, as well as certain programs associated with their effective functioning. Also included in this category are programs which are concerned with the creation of material and other conditions asserted to be necessary for a democratic society and therefore offer instruction pertaining to the operation of the economic and social system of democracy.

The programs of the many agencies engaged in the general field of intergroup relations, specifically race relations, posed a special problem to the staff in determining the content of the entries in this category. It was recognized the work of these agencies plays an important role in creating the conditions of a democratic society.... [But] organizations working in this area were included only when it was felt that their programs were related specifically to civic education.

Excluded in large measure were organizations engaged primarily in welfare, charity and other benevolent activities. While these agencies which are working for the achievement of socially desirable objectives do undoubtedly contribute to the strength and stability of our democratic society, it was not felt that such activities can be construed as primarily educational, even within the broad definition of civic education that has been utilized.

Developing Recommendations

A great variety of suggestions emerged from the lengthy seminar discussions as well as from earlier communications from Professor Wirth. It had seemed to him that one possible focus might be found in an attempt to reinterpret the old concept of Americanization. The problem of the foreign-born, in his judgment, was to be seen no longer as a separate or unique situation but as part of a general movement to deal with our racial, ethnic and religious minorities in a generic manner--to gain equality of opportunity for all and facilitate the full participation of all in our common life.5

Other topics proposed for investigation began to emerge from the committee's discussions: voluntary organizations and the roles of professionals within them, the content of loyalty, the knowledge necessary for good citizenship, the nature of commitment to action and how it can be taught, what action the concept of "citizenship education" implies, the relation of procedure to substance (material concerns) in our democratic society, and the significance of the citizen's role in our society.

When Louis Wirth died suddenly in May 1952, Professor Bessie Pierce became chair of the committee. That summer, while on leave as the director of the Institute of Citizenship at Kansas State College, I became the executive secretary of the committee. While work proceeded on the directory, discussions focused more specifically on the first substantive report to be made to the trustees of the Foundation.

A report, "Preliminary Recommendations," was forwarded to the trustees on November 7, 1952. The report underscored the great variety of activities conducted by the organizations which had been analyzed with a view to their inclusion in the directory. Although all claimed an interest in improving citizenship, some appeared to be concerned with private rather than public matters, some with welfare purposes. The element which many seemed to share and which was also acceptable to the committee as being relevant to the concept of citizenship was that of participation in our common public life within the framework of democratic society. This formulation seemed to exclude much that was peripheral (because not directly related to our common public life) and at the same time emphasized the element of participation--a possible answer to wide-spread concern in our time about apathy and alienation. Furthermore, this concept allowed a sufficiently broad scope to permit the Foundation to carry out a viable program consistent with the purposes of Emil Schwarzhaupt.

In sum, it was recommended that the Foundation use its resources to promote the efforts of "Those organizations which have as their goal increasing the effectiveness of individuals and groups in their effort to participate democratically in the solution of our common problems." This concept was further qualified in several respects. Nonparticipation might be due to inadequate living standards, poor schools, psychological maladjustment and the like. Yet improvement of living standards would not in itself be sufficient reason to expect an increase in participation. It would be the individual's welfare rather than citizenship which would have been improved.

Citizenship might also have been construed as the sum of all social relationships, but this was so broad as to be meaningless. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to exclude private as opposed to public relationships. For example, most conversations between two people are private. But if the purpose is to plot a crime, then the conversation becomes a conspiracy against the public interest. In such a case, the conversation involves consequences beyond the participants, and it becomes necessary for society to organize to deal with such consequences. That is to say, a "Public" is created .6 The term "citizenship" was taken then to refer to the kind of participation with others which involves the public interest.

Having proposed the objective of participation, the report also noted that efforts to improve such participation were concerned with quality as well as quantity of participation. Furthermore, if participation in these senses were to be improved, then some change in the behavior of individuals would be necessary and by behavior was meant not only how individuals act but how they think and feel as well. Hence, by definition, efforts to improve participation were seen as involving some kind of education.

In addition to the considerations just noted, the "Preliminary Recommendations" included suggestions about certain other areas in which the Foundation might concentrate its support, more specifically: "Americanization in the broad sense (What is it to be and how does one become an American?), development of democratic attitudes, improvement of education for citizenship and, finally, stimulation of direct action in public affairs." The trustees' reaction was to agree that competent work in these areas would be relevant to the Foundation's charge but that some further narrowing of these areas would enable it to make a more significant contribution.

The committee also suggested several general considerations which should govern the trustees in selecting among the many applications for assistance. (1) The proposal must fall within the approved working areas of the Foundation. The effect of the project, if successful, would be to improve citizen behavior with respect to ability to participate in public affairs, to enhance our knowledge of how to achieve this end. (2) The results, when achieved, should not be limited to a particular group; rather, it should be possible to extrapolate them to others. (3) The project should deal with causal factors rather than mere symptoms. (4) The Foundation should be able to make a significant contribution even with limited resources. If substantial funds were being contributed from other sources in a given situation, the Foundation should not also invest its meager resources. (5) Propagation of a particular set of conclusions should not be supported. Rather, the purpose should be to liberate the individual; to open new possibilities; to become aware of the reasons, the "why" of actions. Inculcation of conclusions would limit choices. And, in any case, projects depending on exhortation or emotional appeals to promote patriotism or Americanism ought not to be supported because they were likely to be ineffective. Projects should serve the general welfare in addition to whatever benefits would accrue to individual participants. (6) The value of the project should not be limited to the time period of the grant; there should be some likelihood of continuing impact. And (7) there should be provision for evaluation and reporting of results. To assist in making decisions about applications, the committee suggested the desirability of forming an advisory group representing a diversity of backgrounds. They might meet two or three times a year and be paid on a "when actually employed" basis. This suggestion was not adopted.

Recommendations to the Trustees, April 1953

In the final report to the trustees, the committee's recommendations were revised to suggest that the Foundation's resources be allocated so as to assign 80-85 percent of the available funds to two areas: (1) stimulation and improvement of direct action in public affairs on a community basis and (2) research on the process of becoming an American citizen, including the qualities of personality required in a democratic society, as well as on the implications of the emerging questions about loyalty and apathy for American citizenship. The remaining resources (15 to 20 percent) would be available for a residual area. This would provide for enough flexibility to permit the Foundation to support projects which were related to its general purposes, which offered some tangible and significant result having general applicability, and which had the potential of relatively large returns in proportion to cost. An example of such a project might be a well-conceived and innovative approach to the teaching of English to the foreign-born so as to enhance their understanding of the society in which they lived as well as their ability to function effectively in its activities, especially those involving a public interest.

On what grounds were these recommendations made? The following section attempts to explain the rationale with respect to both the involvement of citizen participation on a community basis and the research into the making of Americans.

Some Problems Affecting Participation

The committee's report first identified certain problems affecting participation. It pointed out that since contemporary life in our society has become far more interrelated than in the past, each of us is affected by more and more forces over which, as individuals, we have little control. An obvious example is that of the deterioration of a neighborhood, which the individual qua individual is powerless to prevent. This growing complexity has yet another consequence. The demands on the individual to understand what needs to be done, to possess the skill to carry out action, and the will to try to do something have increased correspondingly.

During the Depression years an enormous increase took place in the role of government, especially the federal government. Whereas, for example, provision for one's old age was formerly a strictly individual matter, a Social Security system now exists for which the individual not only pays during his working career but for which he shares, through the Congress, in such decisions as: How much should the social security tax be? Should we pay for the benefits through payroll deductions or general taxes? The nature of the individual's responsibility has, then, materially changed over time. Poor relief offers another example. At one time it was primarily a county function; now, welfare programs, although administered on a county basis, are financed largely from the federal treasury.

The report also noted a growing sentiment to the effect that citizens are unable to influence their government, regardless of level, in any meaningful way. They no longer have a feeling of belonging to a community in a way similar to what they experience toward such small groups as the church congregation or lodge of which they may be members. Related to this is the feeling that problems are just too big or change too rapidly for their efforts to matter. These account in part for the widely recognized withdrawal or apathy on the part of many citizens.

The report concluded that the growing complexity of modern society, the tendency toward more and more functions being taken over by the government from private hands, and the centralization of public functions away from the local community toward higher levels of government have contributed to a sense of impotence and apathy. This apathy not only reduces the amount of participation by citizens but tends to lower its quality as well. It also introduces another distortion because those who have a private interest at stake will tend to be the more active participants, and the serving of their private interest may or may not benefit the public interest. It is important to note as well that as problems become more complicated, there is an increasing tendency on the part of many to grasp at simplistic solutions which often turn out to be inappropriate to the problems.

These are dangers which are especially serious for a democratic society, for such a society is built on the assumption that the ultimate responsibility and authority are vested in its citizens. This involves participating, in an effective and informed fashion, in the making of decisions on public questions and in the control of public action. It means also, to the extent that citizen cooperation is necessary, participation in the execution of policy decisions.

In discussing participation, many people place emphasis only on voting and express satisfaction in the fact that a certain percentage of the electorate voted in a presidential election as compared with an earlier election. They call for even greater efforts to get out the vote, and while this may be all to the good, it is not sufficient in itself. At least equally important is the question of how well informed the voters are when they cast their ballots and how well the parties have reflected popular wishes in their nominations and platforms. Moreover, elections occur only at extended intervals; the need for study and action on public questions is continuous. This process of study and action obviously depends on cornmunication among citizens as to what their problems are, the various alternatives for dealing with them and whether or not the action agreed upon is working out as expected.

If discussion is a key element in citizen participation, where does it take place? Much of it occurs in the crucially important voluntary association--the institution which De Toqueville saw as so characteristic a part of the American system. These associations--business, labor and agricultural organizations; churches; service groups; professional societies; parent-teacher associations; community groups concerned with particular problems such as health or with the quality of neighborhood life--are important in that they offer a stimulus and a forum for discussion, free from the kinds of control which distinguish governmental from other types of association. In this connection, students of politics have pointed out that liberty is possible only in a society where there are centers of organization other than political ones. Here we should recognize that within these organizations discussion goes on which is not recognized as being political in its implications. But it has an influence on makers of official policy in ways of which those who carry on the discussion are often unaware.

The voluntary association is a resource in another sense. It got its start in the desire of a group of people to accomplish some purpose. If this collective energy could be drawn upon to serve broader interests, the community would benefit greatly. Still, the voluntary association as a forum for discussion and decision making presents some dangers as well as benefits. An important purpose of widely shared discussion is to discover which of several alternative answers to a problem best serves the purpose of the community as a whole. Yet it is a rare organization, the program of which does not serve some interest less broad than that of the whole community. It would seem desirable to find a way to subject these partial interests to the criticism of other special interests under conditions where not mere compromise but a genuine community policy is achieved. There is the further problem that many persons do not belong to any association having a significant voice in public affairs at any level.

The Citizen as Participant

So far, society as a whole, including the community and the voluntary association, has been emphasized. To what consequences for the individual does this discussion point? And what other individual needs are relevant here? In addition to the impotence and apathy which many citizens experience, there are other needs or problems of great significance. Intercultural antagonisms greatly reduce the efficiency with which our society can translate its values into action. Obviously such attitudes reduce the quantity and quality of participation. For many reasons, the information about and understanding of the problems, institutions, processes and beliefs of our society are less than adequate to enable us to deal wisely and confidently with our problems. Most people do not possess the skills needed to work usefully together: to conduct an efficient, productive and democratic meeting; to study and discuss a problem intelligently; to organize effective action to solve it. Lacking such knowledge, understanding and skills, it is not surprising that apathy and frustration are increased.

Much of what has just been said may seem self-evident, at least from the standpoint of the middle-class whites who are the members of the various kinds of voluntary associations mentioned above. But what about those who do not share, to any significant degree, the characteristic values of American middle-class society, for instance, American Indians? What about Mexican-American migrant workers who have been so defeated in their lives that they have had little or no expectation of joining the "mainstream"? What about the blacks in our society who have seen little evidence that "whitey" will ever let them share in any real sense? To talk about the skills of group discussion is to ignore the need for other, prior development, a base without which an attempt to cope with the conditions of one's existence is difficult. Perhaps in the process of organizing a community group, some progress toward developing such a base could be made.

With these considerations in mind, the Committee on Education for American Citizenship recommended that a substantial portion of the Foundation's resources be used to support efforts to help citizens organize at the local level and on a community basis for the purpose of dealing with problems of common public concern--to the end that the quality of life in the community might be improved. Such organizations might take different forms. Some might be based on individual membership. Others might be made up of a variety of associations. Each form might present advantages in given situations. On the other hand, the committee felt that the typical community council (as understood and utilized by social workers) would not serve the purposes described above because customarily they merely acted as clearing houses for the exchange of information among professional workers on what each agency was doing in the community.

The conclusions reached by the committee on the proposed role of the Foundation were. (1) The suggested activities involving participation in dealing with problems of common public concern were relevant to the purpose of bettering American citizenship. (2) The problem of community disorganization and apathy was seen as central to the quality of citizenship. The committee pointed out that efforts to encourage participation were relatively neglected by other foundations. Although the Foundation could not help all communities needing this type of assistance, in a given community the Foundation might be able to make a concrete and meaningful contribution. And (3) the significance of such a program, even if limited to a small number of community organization projects, could be greatly extended by requiring adequate reports of methods and results. The committee further suggested that while three years should be considered a minimum period for a program to show results, five years would probably be more realistic.

Research on the Making of American Citizens

In exploring the questions involved in the improvement of citizenship, the committee had become aware that little was known about the process of becoming an American citizen, if we understand this to include not merely the legal procedures attendant upon naturalization, but the far more complex process by which the immigrant or native-born becomes recognizable as an American. Although there was considerable literature dealing with the place of the immigrant in American life, there had not been a comprehensive study of the problem since the 1920s. It was suggested that a new approach was needed, in part, because older notions about Americanization were no longer considered adequate and, in part, because of radically changed conditions in our society.

On the premise that work in a variety of applied social fields could be conducted more effectively if a better theory of the Americanization process were evolved, the committee recommended that the Foundation allocate part of its resources to this task. A new theory could build on earlier ones, recognizing that they were not completely wrong, and that they did explain part of the process of Americanization. But the impact of new developments had to be taken into account including the changes made by the immigrants themselves in the culture into which they came, and even more important, perhaps, the efforts of major ethnic groups such as blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexican-Americans and American Indians to become fully participating members of American society.

The report noted the changes which had taken place in the pattern of immigration. Mass immigration from Europe ceased in the twenties, to be succeeded by refugees in the thirties and into the fifties by Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, and, in smaller numbers, of Chinese from Hong Kong and Vietnamese. At the same time, new research tools were being developed by social psychologists, cultural anthropologists, sociologists, historians and political scientists.

The committee also noted that the twentieth century had generated a greater emphasis on citizenship and the possibilities for its improvement--a concern stimulated by new demands, both internal and external, to which our society has had to respond. Many of these new demands have been noted. In addition, there was the impact of four wars in a period of fifty years and especially the Vietnam War. We need only mention the term "protest" to conjure up an image of the stresses which afflict the citizen trying to come to terms with his fellows in our body politic.

Finally, attention was directed anew to the role of social institutions such as the family, church, school, government, mass media and group work agencies in guiding the development of the individual toward the ideals of the society. Having noted the accelerating pace of change in the twentieth century, there was the question of whether the cumulative effect has not been so pronounced as to alter substantially the ideal of the good citizen which had previously guided programs of citizenship education. A list of changes could be almost endless, but we shall point out only a few: the demand of the new ethnic groups, including racial minorities, to achieve self-determination in participating in the larger society; the enormous proliferation of wealth and its consequences for individuals and their environment; and the widespread alienation of youth in relation to what they see as materialist values.

Decision to Emphasize Citizen Participation

Although the committee suggested a number of questions to which research should be addressed, the trustees concluded that given the limited resources of the Foundation, it would not be possible to make a substantial commitment to community action programs and also support a research program of such far-reaching scope. They decided to allocate the grant funds of the Foundation to three kinds of projects: Class A-Projects for the improvement of direct citizen participation in public affairs on a community basis; Class B-Projects for research into the problem of what it means to be an American and how a person becomes an American; Class C-Projects that were clearly related to the general purpose set forth in Mr. Schwarzhaupt's will and that offered some tangible and significant result having general applicability elsewhere and relatively large returns in relation to cost. Grants for Class A and Class B projects were to approximate 80 percent of the restricted funds, provided not over 10 percent of the amounts of such grants were to be allotted for Class B projects. Grants for Class C projects were to approximate 20 percent of the funds granted. (For a list of grants made by the Foundation, see Appendix B.)

As of December 31, 1978, contributions by the Foundation had totaled $3,457,151.55. (Of this total, $63,640 had been appropriated prior to the classification criteria adopted in April 1953.)



Grant Totals

Class A



Class B



Class C



Unclassified (prior to April 1953)





In carrying out this grant program, it was decided that the foundation should not seek out specific individuals and groups but instead receive applications for support, awarding grants in accordance with the frame of reference developed. With this in mind, no widespread public announcement of the Foundation's intentions was made, the trustees preferring not to be inundated by a flood of requests for grants which could not be met, let alone investigated. As it was, a brief announcement of Mr. Schwarzhaupt's death and a brief description of the Foundation's purposes produced a number of applications. These were turned over to the University of Chicago committee for analysis and recommendations .7

By the time of the April 1953 meeting of the trustees (when the final report by the Committee on American Citizenship was presented), some thirty-six applications had been received. Many of these bore little or no relationship to the purposes of the Foundation (for instance, a request for a grant for general support of a denominational college). Others were related to citizenship but in a manner deemed by the committee to be relatively ineffective (for instance, hortatory appeals to patriotism). Still others, such as the applications from the Industrial Areas Foundation and Highlander Folk School did meet the terms of reference ultimately approved by the trustees. Ten of these thirty-six applications were ultimately approved.

Report Requirements

With a view to maximizing the impact of the Foundation's work, applicants were required to agree to provide a report on their project in a form suitable for publication, as a condition for receiving a grant. This policy worked unevenly at best. Some grantees ignored their responsibility; others may have been incapable of producing a significant summary review and analysis of their activities. There were those who seemed reluctant to devote time or energy to describing something already in the past; they preferred to devote themselves to continuing action to serve the purposes which were their primary concern. In other cases, careful studies were made and excellent reports prepared. In the end, the net result of the Foundation's program would have been greater if more of its resources had been committed to evaluation studies conducted by persons independent of the grantee organization. Nevertheless, sufficient data became available to warrant at least some conclusions concerning education for citizenship and the value of various ways of seeking to promote more effective citizenship.8

In the chapters that follow, I will describe in some detail those projects which produced significant successes as well as failures and attempt to account for the results. Other projects will be dealt with only briefly. The final chapter will attempt to summarize (1) what the foundation learned about its own activity as a fund-granting agency and (2) what was learned from the activities of the grantees. Before beginning to describe the sixty or so projects to which the Foundation granted funds, however, it is necessary to say something about the organizing principles of this report.

Organizing Principles of this Report

In retrospect, it can be seen that in spite of the recommendations for limiting the scope of grant-making activity which were made by the University of Chicago's Committee on Education for American Citizenship and accepted by the Foundation's trustees, the projects as funded proved, nevertheless, to be somewhat disparate in character. The disparities were not so great, however, as to leave us with some sixty projects, each in a class by itself. Even so, the range of projects was great enough to require close attention to the question of how to organize the materials. Upon consideration, it was decided that the analytical structure should reflect, in part, the variations among different groups insofar as their preparedness to participate as citizens was concerned. Such variations might be due to one or more factors, such as: having a value system more or less encouraging to the assumption of responsibility for taking part in public affairs, or having a sufficient understanding of approved behavior in a given culture and possessing the requisite information and know-how and the motivation to be effective in civic affairs. Such a treatment, it was thought, would lend itself to identifying problems peculiar to various groups with respect to their ability to move toward more effective participation in the body politic.

But the Foundation was concerned about another kind of question as well. It wanted to know what effect differences in kind of project sponsorship would have on the results achieved. Were some kinds of sponsors better suited than others to the task of helping citizens come to grips with problems of their community? More particularly, was such a task one which could better be undertaken by neighborhood or settlement houses, by colleges and universities, by voluntary organizations emphasizing a professional/technical approach to community problems or by community organizations which might be formed by community residents more or less spontaneously? How would their efforts compare, for example, with those of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) or Highlander Folk School? And what would happen if IAF principles were applied by other organizations?

To anticipate our story, the nature of the sponsorship proved to be of critical significance, as, for example, in the Chelsea project in which the confrontation between the organizing philosophy of Saul Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation and that of Dan Carpenter of Hudson Guild was played out. There were some twenty-nine projects conducted by twenty-seven grantees in which the kind of sponsorship seemed to have particular relevance to the effectiveness with which they pursued the aim of "learning to secure and use one's civic rights" or "learning how to work with others toward common ends." In addition to the Industrial Areas Foundation, Highlander Folk School, Migrant Ministry, Penn Community Center, South Carolina Council on Human Relations and the National Conference of Catholic Charities, the grantees in these categories included nine neighborhood or settlement houses, seven community/metropolitan associations and five colleges and universities. (Excluded from these projects are those concerned with American Indians.)

Of these twenty-seven grantees, only five worked primarily or to a significant degree with persons suffering gross discriminations in their efforts to exercise their civic rights. The remaining projects involved persons, for the most part, with at least an eighth grade education. Many would have had middle-class aspirations. Their need was to gain the conviction that their efforts could make a difference and then learn how to get others to work with them to a common end. As we shall see, the effectiveness of the several grantees in helping citizens to learn how to gain their ends varied greatly.

The Categories

Specifically, the materials of this study have been organized according to the categories outlined below. Although figures of speech are treacherous, the first three categories of citizenship preparedness can be thought of as concentric rings--each implying a more sophisticated set of abilities and practices as one moves toward the center. In the outermost ring, we find an Indian living in a tribal area and speaking little English or an Indian recently moved from a reservation to a city. Can the latter cope with the problems of urban life? Can he learn to find and hold a job and to do what is expected of him without losing something very precious to him--his Indianness? Can one become a welder without necessarily becoming in effect a white man? In the next ring would be a Mexican-American or black who has been discriminated against in manifold ways because he lacked the vote and has been unorganized, politically speaking. Next, toward the center would be the citizens of a neighborhood who feel that "You can't lick city hall" but who might be willing to try to do something about their problems, nevertheless, or those who are well off economically and well educated (some, indeed, members of the Establishment) who yet feel that the means available to them to improve the quality of life in their communities, including the level of effectiveness of citizen organizations, is not what they would like it to be, or who believe that the means available should be mobilized and applied to improve some aspect of community life. The category of adult education, training and research differs from the first three categories in the kinds of activities involved.

Acculturation. In this section there have been included the projects among American Indians who needed an opportunity to learn whether or not they wished to assume behaviors (and if they did, how) appropriate to citizenship as understood in white society, given the fact that many Indians were more comfortable with the values appropriate to a folk society than those characteristic of our industrial, urban society. One critical difference between Indian and white societies was a difference of world view. At the same time, there were significant differences among Indians themselves as to their readiness to participate. The grants to American Indian Development for work among the Navajo were among the most significant in this group of projects.

Learning to Secure and Use One's Civic Rights. A second group of projects involved Mexican-Americans and blacks, in rural areas especially, whose value systems were sufficiently like those of the dominant culture as not to be a deterrent in a fundamental sense to participation in the political process. Their problem was rather that they had been systematically excluded from such participation. They needed to become motivated and to have the chance to gain the information, understanding and organizational skills which would enable them to overcome the obstacles serving to exclude them from the political process. Grants to the Industrial Areas Foundation, in support of organizing efforts among Mexican-Americans in California, and to Highlander Folk School exemplify this category. (This category is treated in two chapters because the Industrial Areas Foundation and the Migrant Ministry emphasized organizational elements and Highlander Folk School stressed changes in individuals, but as persons needing to work together.)

Learning to Work with Others to Achieve Common Ends. A third category of projects involved principally whites but also included blacks in the Woodlawn area of Chicago's South Side and elsewhere. Their need was to learn how to organize their communities so as to increase their impact on the political process. These persons had remained outside the active political process because they did not recognize or believe in the possibility of affecting the quality of their lives through organizing for political ends. They were not prevented from doing so because of overt discrimination. Rather, their unreadiness was due to feelings of powerlessness and lack of know-how concerning community organization. The organizing efforts supported in Lackawanna, Butte, South Chicago, and Chelsea in New York City had such problems in view.

Because of our interest in comparing the effect of the kind of sponsorship on these projects, they are grouped into subcategories. The IAF project in the Woodlawn area of South Chicago constitutes one such subcategory, the grantees purporting to apply IAF principles of mass organization represent a second; settlement houses a third; voluntary community or metropolitan associations a fourth; and colleges and universities a fifth. The individual projects do not submit to the subcategories equally well, but the fit is, I believe, adequate to the purpose.

Adult Education, Training and Research. This category differs somewhat in kind from those just described. None of the projects involved working with people actually attempting to organize a community for some purpose. (Some, including professional workers, were receiving training for such a purpose.) In general, the persons involved were relatively well educated. In the case of the Roosevelt University and American Council projects, the educational attainments of those who served had been earned in another country. In the case of the Migrant Ministry and National Training Laboratories projects, those served were primarily professionals seeking training. And in the case of the League of Women Voters, we were of course dealing with a group above average in education, status, income and level of civic activity.

Preparation for Adult Citizenship. The final category, comprising the nine projects concerned with the citizenship education of youth, differs from the other categories in another way. One reason for the lack of fit is that youth are still in a stage of becoming adult; their legal status prevents the possibility of their full participation in the exercise of civic rights. Furthermore, their future is still being determined by on-going educational activity, by decisions not yet made as to place of residence or by the unforeseen impact of legislation yet to be enacted. Another characteristic of these youth projects was that the great majority of the youth involved were from middle- rather than lower-class families. And even though the parents may have suffered from discrimination and educational deprivation, their children at least had had access to schooling, So, perforce, we must deal with the youth projects outside the scheme of concentric rings under the title: Education for Citizenship: Preparation for Adult Citizenship. Examples of this group are the American Friends Service Committee, Interns-in-Community Service, the 4-H Club and Encampment for Citizenship projects.

Some Significant Questions. In the course of identifying and evaluating the significant elements in the variety of citizenship programs supported by the Foundation, several kinds of questions emerged, answers to which might be useful to workers in the field. Among these were the following:

1. What was learned about such aspects of citizenship education as: (a) constituting community organizations on the basis of individual or organizational membership, (b) the value of lay compared with professional leadership in community organizations, (c) the role of staff in such groups, (d) the possibility of developing effective citizenship behavior at different levels of civic competence, (e) conciliation versus confrontation as an organizational tactic, (f) the differences in time frame appropriate to working with various kinds of groups, (g) the possibility of helping without stifling community leadership, (h) the kinds of civic competence which could be learned in different contexts, (i) the relation of study or education programs to action, (j) the relevance of group work principles to civic education and action, and (k) the effect of kind of sponsorship on project success.

2. What was learned by the Foundation about its grant making: (a) factors important in grantee selection, (b) critical importance of trying to discover if the applicant really understood its own project, (c) the appropriate kind and degree of involvement with grantees, (d) the impact of chance elements, and (e) the role of evaluation.

It is, of course, easier to ask questions about such matters than to answer them. And, in fact, the failure of some grantees to provide adequate reports deprived the Foundation of data needed for a more comprehensive response to such questions. Also, this account does not attempt to offer a treatment of the field of citizenship education but only to report the results of a limited number of projects which had significance for that field.

There is one further comment about this report which I wish to make. The report is lengthy, but I have included much circumstantial material because I believe that it will be easier to get a sense of the principles at work. Furthermore, many readers will not have become aware of events in, for example, black communities in the South (aside from reports of demonstrations and marches) or among Mexican-Americans in California which had significant historical importance.

We begin, then, with projects involving American Indians--the group facing the greatest difficulty in becoming part of American society on terms satisfactory to them.


1. Committee members included Daniel J. Boorstin, Associate Professor of History; Kermit Eby, Professor of Social Sciences; Earl S. Johnson, Professor of Social Sciences; Walter Johnson, Professor of History; Avery Leiserson, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Bessie Louise Pierce, Professor of History; Kenneth J. Rehage, Associate Professor of Education; Ralph W. Tyler, Dean of the Division of Social Sciences; and Louis Wirth, Professor of Sociology, who served as its first chairman.

2. The seminar was organized so that other interested faculty and graduate students could participate in discussions.

3. Civic Education in the United States: A Directory of Organizations, compiled by Robert Horwitz and Carl Tjerandsen, University College, University of Chicago, 1954; 1958-1959 Supplement to Civic Education in the United States: A Directory of Organizations, compiled by Robert Horwitz and Carl Tjerandsen, Bureau of Social and Political Research, Michigan State College, 1958. Karl Gunther also contributed significantly to the data-gathering process as a committee staff member.

4. Horwitz and Tjerandsen, Civic Education (1954), p. xiv.

5. Memorandum from Louis Wirth to Leonard Rieser, Oct. 20, 1950, ESF files.

6. John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems (Chicago: Gateway Books, 1946), p. 15.

7. The trustees could have chosen another course, that is, offering support to individuals or groups if they would undertake to carry out some project deemed in advance to have prospects for success. This approach was rejected for several reasons. The trustees did not have a program so precisely delineated in advance. A barrier might be placed in the way of promising proposals from others. Most important was the conviction that the greatest chance of success was to be expected from projects in which several factors were likely to be associated: a community or organization interested in the project and project leadership who understood the project because they had thought it through and, in any case, were motivated to make it a success. Of course, they might not, in fact, know what they were doing, but that was a problem for the Foundation to avoid if it could.

8. Arrangements have been made to deposit the Foundation's files in the Special Collections of the University of Chicago Library.