Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Conference Paper

Date of this Version

November 1999

Publication Source

The Communication Review



Start Page


Last Page





In The Good Citizen, Michael Schudson describes four interconnected but ultimately distinct eras of American civic life, each characterized by the dominance of a particular model of citizenship. In the first era, roughly corresponding to the 18th and early 19th centuries, citizens deferred to the leadership of political elites – civic responsibility consisted mainly of affirming the legitimacy of this ruling caste. The second era, in place throughout the remainder of the 19th century, was characterized by the dominance of political parties. In this period, citizens played a more central role, though this role was orchestrated by strong local party organizations that mobilized the masses through the tangible incentives of patronage, entertainment and other individual, material rewards rather than through detailed appeals to ideology or issues.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in The Communication Review, 2009, © Taylor & Francis, available online at:


NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Michael X. Delli Carpini, was affiliated with Columbia University. Currently (January 2008), he is a faculty member of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.



Date Posted: 09 January 2008