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Pultizer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood discusses how the founders of America intended to thwart the ascendance of demagogues in the fledgling democracy they were building.
An Informed Republic
America’s founders recognized that that without a king, the fledgling nation would need an informed citizenry—or their bold experiment in democracy would fail. So in early America the government subsidized newspapers, established the postal system to facilitate information flow and drew up plans for public education. But now in the digital age, does the demise of newspapers threaten citizens’ access to quality journalistic information? Does remarkably low civic knowledge by average Americans weaken the fabric of democracy?