The Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life – the nation’s leading effort to positively reinforce civility in contemporary American politics – will take a different approach this year. In this its bicentennial year, Allegheny is engaging nationally renowned historians to help the College identify and award the most important moments of civility in American history.
Usually, the Prize is awarded to contemporary political figures – such as last year’s prize, awarded to the 20 women of the Senate for their work in defusing a federal shutdown. As Allegheny celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2015 — a history nearly as old as America herself – the time was right to look back, said Allegheny President James Mullen.
“Civility has played an essential and under-appreciated role in American history,” said Mullen. “It is our hope that by helping people to appreciate the profound, essential and positive role that civility has played in American history, we can in some small way inspire current politicians to recommit to civility. And perhaps most importantly, we hope to inspire young people to see politics as a vocation worthy of their aspirations.”
Mullen said that nationally renowned presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, author of Cronkite and other acclaimed histories, has agreed to lead the bicentennial Civility effort with Allegheny. Other prominent historians are assisting by submitting nominations.
“Allegheny’s work to underscore civility has quietly become an important force for good in American politics today,” said Brinkley, who received an honorary degree from Allegheny in 2013. “It will be meaningful to look back over the arc of American history to remind ourselves that civility has been at the root of some of our most important national moments.”
We want to hear from you. What are the most important moments of civility in American history? Submit your nomination here or via Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook by using the hashtag: #Civility2015
In The News
“You can be a strong partisan, but there are times when partisanship needs to be secondary to working together to achieve outcomes,” Ridge said.
February 28, 2014 – Read More: ErieTVNews.com
“Unconstrained and unfettered and unvetted, I marched over to the Senate floor, took the microphone and challenged our colleagues to come out of their partisan corners, to stop the fighting and to start legislating in a manner worthy of the people of this country,” Collins said.
February 27, 2014 – Read More: USNews.com
“With a historic number of 20 Senate women and with a historic amount of power chairing eight committees, we have continued to create a zone of civility to get the job done. Whether it’s breaking budget gridlock, passing the farm bill or passing a bill making sure America has clean water infrastructure, we are making real change,” Mikulski said.
February 27, 2014 – Read More: Post-Gazette.com
“The 20 women in the Senate aren’t less partisan than their colleagues; they simply shy away from personal attacks and make a point of being civil in their dealings. Being nice isn’t just putting a good face on things. It actually does get things done in Washington.”
February 25, 2014 – Read More: Time.com
About the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life
Allegheny College is one of the nation’s oldest liberal-arts colleges, with a long tradition of passionate but civil intellectual debate. Deeply troubled by the rise of incivility in U.S. politics, and its negative impacts on political participation, particularly among young people, the College created the Civility Prize in 2011 to highlight and reinforce the unheralded public figures who advance civility.
The Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life annually recognizes two political figures, one from the left and one from the right, who argue passionately but with civility for their beliefs. The Prize seeks to honor politicians who have demonstrated steadfast civility throughout their career or, in the case of this year’s winners, shown authentic, courageous civility at an important moment in time.