Public Program - Steven C. Bullock

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 7:00pm

Politeness and Public Life in Early America -- and Today

by Steven C. Bullock

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 American leaders. Eighteenth-century leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin considered politeness an essential part of a free society, a part of the larger project of challenging authoritarian rule. Drawing upon his new book, Tea Sets and Tyranny, this lecture examines why civility seemed so important in early America ̶ and why it seems so problematic today.

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