Education and democracy are inextricably linked in American social thought and practice. Democracy, in all of its historic and contemporary forms, has played a pivotal role in shaping conceptions of public education. How public education is imagined, scripted, and enacted is contested along philosophic, programmatic, and pedagogic dimensions in relation to competing conceptions of democracy.

Classic contributors to modern political thought and commentary, as well as those who framed modern arguments, have dealt specifically with the educational necessities of establishing and maintaining a democratic polity. They have generally reflected on the tensions between the socialization of a democratic nation's subjects (as acculturated, law abiding members) and the education of its citizens (as critically thinking, active participants). Both education and democracy in the United States have evolved ...

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