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Models of American Citizenship

In the beginning of the nation, there was little concern in America with what we now think of as organized citizen participation in government. We were a rural nation with a few urban settlements of some size and a number of small communities. Many citizens who wished to have an influence over community affairs could do so easily. The process of public decision making and implementation of “public policy” took place in what were, by modern standards, small and simple structures and settings.

This suited Thomas Jefferson, a deeply involved and fascinated observer of the development of the nation. Jefferson's ideas about governance were complex, exhibiting an interplay of concern with individual liberties and the need for citizens to take part in ...

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