About Us

“Citizenship is, or is supposed to be…a sentiment or state of mind, an awareness of sharing an identity with others to whom one is related by nationality, if not by blood, a sense of belonging to a community for which one bears some responsibility.  In a word, citizenship implies public-spiritedness, which is akin to patriotism, and has to be cultivated.” — Walter Berns

The AEI Program on American Citizenship is a new initiative focused on the fundamental principles and challenges of American self-government.

Our mission is threefold:

  • To establish an inventory of the best work on citizenship and the free society,
  • To outline a research agenda for further work, and
  • To develop a set of best practices for sustaining and strengthening American citizenship.

The Program will bring together a diverse group of thinkers and doers to discuss and identify the critical questions related to citizenship. Why does citizenship matter? What virtues are necessary to the maintenance of free and democratic institutions? What is the state of America’s “schools of liberty”: families, congregations, and civic associations? How can we better prepare Americans for the duties and responsibilities of citizenship?

To answer these questions, we will explore matters both practical and theoretical, including public schools and the cultivation of civic virtue; voting and the political process; immigration policies and integration; and the role of local communities in inculcating a strong sense of duty and citizenship.