What Should You and I Do?: Lessons for Civic ...

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Dec 17, 2013 - popularly become known as the “Brains Trust.”10 Beyond this immediate. I argue that civic studies must look beyond the last three decades and.

What Should You and I Do?: Lessons for Civic Studies from Deliberative Politics in the New Deal Timothy J. Shaffer

The Good Society, Volume 22, Number 2, 2013, pp. 137-150 (Article)

Published by Penn State University Press DOI: 10.1353/gso.2013.0012

For additional information about this article http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/gso/summary/v022/22.2.shaffer.html

Access provided by Cornell University (17 Dec 2013 22:41 GMT)

What Should You and I Do? Lessons for Civic Studies from Deliberative Politics in the New Deal ti mot h y j. shaffer

Civic Studies as a Conceptual Framework In an essay focusing on the contribution of the late Elinor Ostrom’s ­scholarship to the developing field of civic studies, Peter Levine suggested that civic studies is “one possible name for intellectual work that seriously addresses the question, ‘What should you and I do?’”1 Its strength, Levine argues, comes from the acknowledgment of three important and interrelated matters: facts, values, and strategies. As Levine further explained, “We citizens need to know facts because we should not try to do something that is impossible, or redundant, or that has harmful but intended consequences. . . . We also need values because otherwise we cannot distinguish between good and bad collective action.  .  .  . Finally, civic studies should offer strategies. It is insufficient to wish for better outcomes and determine that those outcomes are possible. We need a path to the desirable results.”2 There are, obviously, many disciplines and fields of study and practice that engage these questions. However, traditional disciplines have often been limited by the epistemologies and methodologies that define them. What is acceptable within professional associations and what the institutional expectations of scholarship are define the acceptable from that which is unacceptable. Because of these challenges, attempts to draw from different disciplinary wells have been limited in part because of the different languages, approaches, and expectations. As Levine notes, “Social science is separated from philosophy and theology; strategic analysis is separated the good society , vol. 22, no. 2, 2013 Copyright © 2013 The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

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from empirical research. Scholars are much more likely to investigate why large-scale trends occur or how powerful institutions work than to identify promising opportunities for ordinary people to influence the world.”3 In my own academic training in diverse fields such as theology, public administration, and education, I have experienced the difficulty of bridging these divides and recognize the promise that civic studies offers: an explicit attempt to “produce knowledge, insights, and strategies that citizens need— if ‘citizens’ are defined as co-producers of a good or just society.”4 For too long, higher education has been more interested in rigorous research methods rather than attempting to change the world we live in. A picture recently posted online expressed our current fixation well: “What do we want? Evidence-based change. When do we want it? After peer review.” Foundational to civic studies is its Framing Statement—an a­ rticulation from the founders of this emerging field of study and practice that highlights the gaps that civic studies fills in the current scholarly landscape.5 The Framing Statement begins this way: We see before us an emerging civic politics, along with an emerging intellectual community, a field, and a discipline. Its work is to understand and strengthen civic politics, civic initiatives, civic capacity, civic society and civic culture. It is emerging in many disciplines and fields of human endeavor.6 This field is emerging, drawing from numerous and varied sources for thinking about citizenship as a distinctive civic ideal and set of practices that cultivates agency. The authors of the Framing Statement built their notion of this civic ideal on two elements: first, public spiritedness and a commitment to the public good, and second, the idea that the citizen is a creative agent. In short, the citizen is a political actor with his or her own efficacy. As Harry Boyte, one of the contributors to the Framing Statement has long argued, we do well to think of such agency as “public work.”7 Using civic studies as a conceptual framework helps cultivate a space within the Academy where scholars can draw upon diverse disciplines for thinking about the question: “What should you and I do?” and offer responses that fill the gaps left by the fact that there is “much less scholarship than we need that combines facts, strategy, and values that deals with the human scale of politics.”8 But while civic studies draws from fields as diverse as the social and applied sciences, humanities, law, education, and others, it has drawn principally from recent scholarship. This has been done

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to the exclusion of historical examples that can help inform our thinking about this developing field. I argue that civic studies must look beyond the last three decades and the “civic renewal movement” and explore earlier periods, especially from periods when one might not expect to find promising accounts of individuals doing their best to bring together Levine’s ­tripartite vision. Yet, looking under these historical rocks, we can draw on more examples of how citizens have answered the question: “What should you and I do?” and how they have combined facts, strategies, and values in their own contexts. What follows is a brief introduction to a chapter of American h ­ istory often overlooked, especially when considering questions about how  we should live  our lives and take actions based on knowledge about the issues that m ­ atter to us. With respect to our larger I argue that civic discussion about civic ­studies, I ­contend that the account below—through focused attention on studies must look M.  L.  Wilson—is best interpreted through a civic beyond the last studies lens. It is a narrative about how government three decades and administrators (with intimate connections to higher . . . explore earlier education) viewed their work as being about facts, periods, . . . to bring strategies, and values dealing with political life. This was ­primarily at the community level, but the work together Levine’s had implications for state and national policy at a tripartite vision. time when some questioned democracy’s future.

Cultivating Democracy in the New Deal For scholars seeking to retrieve or learn from earlier times, the Progressive Era often holds a special place. It was a period of unique ­tensions. in a ­powerful way, it was a time of increased reliance on experts to solve public problems; but it was also a time of democratic revival with so-called “ordinary” citizens playing an important role in politics and demo­cratic life.9 The New Deal, in contrast, has often been viewed as a chapter in American democracy that relied almost exclusively on experts to ameliorate the many problems facing the country. An element of the New Deal ­critique has been rooted in the justified claim that the government leaned profoundly on experts. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously relied heavily on leading intellectuals of the time, turning to a select number of professors who would popularly become known as the “Brains Trust.”10 Beyond this immediate

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circle of close advisors there were also many ­others who came to fill the ranks of the New Deal agencies. This larger group included, “A remarkable host of young, bright, idealistic lawyers, social workers, and engineers” who, in the words of Richard S. Kirkendall, were “service intellectuals—men of academically trained intelligence whose work as intellectuals related closely to affairs of great importance and interest to men outside of the university.”11 Playing essential roles in bringing the New Deal to life, these intellectuals developed new democratic roles for the federal government. Building on a tradition that took hold during the Progressive Era, administrators embraced technocratic approaches to address the many challenges facing the nation. But for a select group of administrators in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the way in which they viewed themselves and their work reveals a much more complex nature of what it meant to be a New Deal intellectual and administrator, particularly for those who valued and explicitly framed their vision for the USDA through a democratic lens. By way of introduction, we begin with a quote from then USDA Under Secretary M. L. Wilson, the central actor shaping the Department’s d ­ emocratic efforts: . . . I have always believed that no single specialist or expert, nor any single body of scientific knowledge, can ever deal adequately with even a relatively small and apparently detached agricultural problem. I  believe that when, for instance, we have a farm problem that seems on the surface to be wholly an economic matter, we may safely take it for granted that the economic problem is interwoven with factors that are political, sociological, psychological, philosophical, and even religious. And we should realize that any solution or policy that is decided upon is bound to have effects upon human life and conduct that none but philosophy and religion openly profess to ­ isdom alone, therefore, is not enough for proper judge. Economic w ­consideration of agricultural problems that by common consent are defined as economic problems. We cannot escape getting involved in questions of moral, philosophical, and spiritual v­ alues whenever we touch upon any social problem.12 This quote embodies, in many ways, the philosophy shaping an effort led by a handful of government administrators to broaden and redefine how public problems were thought about and addressed through what was

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called the Program Study and Discussion (PSD) unit—first as a ­Section of the ­Agricultural Adjustment Administration and later as a Division in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, both within the United States ­Department of Agriculture. Motivated not only by a desire to solve ­agricultural problems but also by a commitment to support and strengthen civic life through education, administrators began a conversation about a ­deliberative democracy and civic education initiative in the winter of 1934. This initiative was composed of two related parts: first, discussion groups that were organized and facilitated by local cooperative extension agents from land-grant colleges and universities with rural men and women, and second, Schools of Philosophy for Extension Workers that were organized and facilitated by USDA staff and prominent university faculty and intellectuals.13 From 1935 until the PSD was closed in 1946, over forty subjects were addressed through discussion group material (while groups were encouraged to address t­ opics well beyond those outlined in government pamphlets). The PSD prepared and Although imperfect, distributed millions of copies of d ­ iscussion guides for communities to use as resources for thinking these initiatives about ­various ­topics.14 Final numbers suggest that were an attempt more than 3  ­million rural men and women parto . . . cultivate ticipated in discussion groups, tens of thousands democracy as a way of discussion leaders were trained, and more than of life. 122 Schools were held with over 50,000 extension workers and other rural community l­eaders attending.15 The breadth of the PSD remains i­mpressive. With a modest staff, it engaged communities across the entire nation. They collaborated with state agencies (notably the land-grant colleges and extension service) and other organizations. But in the end, those with vested interests in agriculture (and support in Congress) viewed the PSD as a deviation from the USDA’s more “traditional” work. Actions beginning in 1942 and continuing for four years—led by the American Farm Bureau Federation, sympathetic supporters in Congress, and some within the land-grant colleges who felt the USDA should only provide statistical information and not engage in the planning and educational work it had been doing since the mid-1930s—brought this democratic initiative to an end. It is important to stress that the PSD’s initiatives were not a perfect embodiment of democracy, similar to how Melissa Bass has written about the contribution the Civilian Conservation Corps made to democracy.16

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However, those who gave life to these educational efforts had a particular vision of democracy and its promise. Although imperfect, these initiatives were an attempt to remake and cultivate democracy as a way of life instead of only being about voting and elections. Supporting attempts to develop a deeper knowledge about agricultural problems, administrators envisioned the USDA helping to address problems of and in democracy. As one author put it, “Erosion of the soil in which democracy can grow has also taken place at an accelerating rate.”17

Old Practices and New Interpretations of Democracy What Wilson and others envisioned was not novel.18 In fact, much of what they wanted—to create spaces for citizens to engage and learn with and from one another—was built on previous generations of work, especially within the land-grant system and its cooperative extension system.19 In a 1997 essay, Jess Gilbert positioned Wilson and Secretary of Agriculture ­ allace within the agrarian tradition and suggested they viewed Henry A. W themselves as members in its continually developing and evolving history. For them, the agrarian tradition was a living thing and they sought to articulate how the New Deal was “entirely within the national tradition—not ‘un-American’ or subversive of it, as some conservatives held. Rather, it was the next step forward for their generation.”20 Much like Progressive Era intellectuals and leaders who helped redefine what democracy and citizenship meant at the turn of the century, Wilson, Wallace, and others updated it again for their own time. One of Wallace’s first speeches in 1933 as Secretary of Agriculture was called “A Declaration of Interdependence.” He spoke about the desperate situation facing farmers as well as the many urban dwellers who turned to abandoned farms with the hope that they might make some future for themselves. What needed to occur was “a mental adjustment, a willing reversal, of driving, pioneer opportunism and ungoverned laissez-faire. The ungoverned push of rugged individualism perhaps had an economic justification in the days when we had all the West to surge upon and c­ onquer; but this country has filled up now, and grown up.”21 Wilson shared many of Wallace’s views, one of them being that Americans needed to look beyond economics as the measure for understanding issues.22 Both expressed commitments to cultivating a new approach and outlook for citizens. Reflecting a position held by John Dewey, democracy

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to Wilson was more a way of life than a rigidly defined political structure. He hoped for a renaissance in the US in which people would “search their souls for the deeper, more fundamental philosophical meanings” and ­create new models of democratic processes.23 In 1940, he wrote that he was convinced the problems of rural life would not be solved by “present-day social science disciplines” but rather through a cultural approach “attempting to get an integrated view of life as it flows along.”24 Democracy was real and lived. It was shaped by values and not simply something found in a textbook about the branches of government. Wilson also believed issues needed to be named and framed as c­ omplex problems even when they appeared to be simple and straightforward.25 Education—particularly discussion and deliberation with others—was a powerful way for citizens to more fully understand the interconnected realities they faced. In a time when fundamental questions about democracy’s future were up for debate, the PSD cultivated space for thoughtful discussion. “Free and full discussion is the archstone of democracy,” Wilson wrote. Rural people did not need to be preached at. Instead, they should be active participants in creating their future. This was not necessarily new to extension agents, “but there has never been a better opportunity or a greater need for using it as a means of stimulating the flow of pro and con thought.”26 Democracy required participation—and informed participation was based on education. We now consider one example of Wilson’s thinking about the connection between education and democracy. Although written 75 years earlier, the example speaks to Levine’s interest in developing a scholarly approach to facts, values, and strategies in civic life.

Education for Democracy A striking example of Wilson’s thinking came in 1936 when he was the president of the American Country Life Association. That year, its annual meeting was held in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the conference theme was ­“Education for Democracy.” As he noted in his speech, democracy’s ­struggle against dictatorship raised numerous questions about what ­democracy actually was: Is democracy a fixed thing, or is it an evolving, changing idea? Are the concepts of liberty, equality, and fraternity different now from what they were when we lived in a simpler society? Is democracy related

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to the environment of a people? Did it take one form when we were a nation of frontier farmers, and must it take on different forms now that we have become a complex industrial country with the agricultural frontier gone, and most people engaged in highly specialized activities instead of continuing as members of a self-sufficient family unit such as we had 150 yeas ago? After all, is democracy simply a faith, an attitude on the part of individuals, or is it also a rule for living which must change as the conditions of life itself change?27 He continued by stating three assumptions that were “axiomatic with all those who believe in democracy.” The first was that democracy must be based on a faith in the “inherent capabilities and worth-whileness of the average man.” There must be, Wilson asserted, an assumption that the average person has innate intelligence and reason and that because of this intelligence, wise decisions can be made through “the expression of openminded opinions about the problems of living together.” His second point was that democracy required participation by citizens and that we learn the democratic process by “doing things in a democratic way.” The third point, in a sense, helped to accomplish to first two: “This faith in the common man and in the democratic method rests primarily upon the educational processes.” Education was responsible for both setting up the framework of ideas as well as the interpretation of those ideas within that framework. For Wilson, to address the “complicated problems of democracy which are at present before us, and which lie ahead, either some new educational agencies must be developed, or readjustments must be made in some of those we now have.”28 Discussion groups and deliberative practices were his ideas for reshaping existing institutions such as the extension service. Wilson closed his presidential address with five points: First, there needed to be a clear differentiation between what group discussion was and what it was not. There were techniques to be used to move from an educational model based on listening and memorizing to one based on discussion and thinking. Second, “discussion” needed to be popularized by the likes of extension and other farm organizations, but not simply in rhetoric. They had to be, in Wilson’s words, “prepared to back up their sales talk with service and assistance.” Third, extension needed to play a role in training local leaders in the “technique and methods of group ­discussion,” and it, “will not come about without organization and effort.” Closely related, Wilson’s fourth point was that demonstrations were needed to show how good discussion occurred, just as extension services did with more

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traditional agricultural issues. Seaman A. Knapp’s ­demonstration method could serve as an e­ xample insofar as ­citizens might ­benefit from seeing how democratic discussion occurred. Finally, after discussion groups had been set up, “a great responsibility rest[ed] upon the educational agencies . . . to service these groups with material that will aid and assist them.” If education had a role to play in democracy, discussion groups were its ­modern manifestation.29 This presidential address captures the essence of Wilson’s philosophy that complex public problems required citizens to learn from one another before they could act. Wilson and others were not simply romantics longing for a bygone era of the New England town hall meeting. The world was rapidly changing and their response was a commitment to democracy, cutting against the grain of so much of how the New Deal has been ­narrated as a period of an increasingly powerful federal government and a shift to bureaucracy and expertise. What can easily be lost in the retelling of these initiatives is the degree to which If education had local knowledge and experience was valued alongside a role to play technical expertise from the USDA and how citizens in democracy, were recognized as civic actors with their own agency. discussion groups Stressing that neither science nor the social sciences were its modern would alone solve problems, Wilson believed that cooperation was essential “not merely in our own manifestation. lives, not merely in our own class, not merely in our own nation, but in the world as a whole.”30

Conclusions and Questions So what difference does it make that rural people gathered together in ­living rooms and discussed national agriculture policy? What benefit came from extension agents gathering at four-day Schools? One place where it seems this work is particularly pertinent is within the current land-grant and extension system. Today, there are academic professionals in states such as Michigan and Oklahoma who have utilized deliberative methods to help address public problems. They are challenging a dominant paradigm within higher ­education that their own work should stand apart as expert information. Instead, they are providing educational opportunities, spaces for deliberation, and serving as “experts on tap” while citizens make informed decisions and take action in response to challenges they face.

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By creating spaces for citizens to learn from one another, deliberate, and (in partnership with the USDA’s more explicit action programs) act, Wallace, Wilson, Taeusch, and others sought to cultivate a more holistic approach to problems. The USDA faced numerous rural challenges, but they asked themselves difficult questions about how best to ensure citizens were knowledgeable about problems so they could act on them. The philosophy shaping these administrators was one that challenged the budding liberalism of the day. They wrestled with value-laden issues as a government entity. This did not occur without criticism, however, and the exchange between an editor of America, a Catholic magazine, and Taeusch highlights the uncharted waters into which the PSD ventured.31 Framing the most pressing agricultural issues as questions for citizens to answer themselves serves as a reminder of the importance of this story, of the attempts made to strengthen democracy while simultaneously seeking to solve ­public problems. As we think about the continued development of the field of civic studies, it is imperative to reclaim periods in the past that help us to imagine and articulate what it means to live public-spirited lives that recognize the knowledge and agency of citizens. This is particularly important within institutions that focus increasingly on the provision of research-based technical knowledge to citizens and communities for their own consumption or use without much attention to the implications of such knowledge. Higher education and federal bureaucracies are often viewed as being out of touch with democratic life and active citizenship. Yet, as this brief account about the PSD reveals, we can uncover forgotten stories that offer a different narrative. This story is particularly important when looking at administrative or other roles that afford some degree of influence within their respective institutions. Often we can focus on grassroot efforts for cultivating democracy, but we must also direct our attention to those in administrative and leadership roles since so much also comes from those within institutional settings. In conclusion, if we ask the question, “What should you and I do?,” we find a particularly insightful response from M. L. Wilson and the PSD’s work in the 1930s and 1940s. Discussion groups and Schools engaged the three important and interrelated matters Levine identified: facts, values, and strategies. If we want to continue to develop civic studies, we must not only look to the work we are doing today but also revisit and reclaim narratives from our distant past. We can learn a great deal from those who have come before us and wrestled with many of the same challenges we can so easily view as “new” today.

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Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD, is Director of the Center for Leadership and Engagement at Wagner College, Co-director of The ­Democracy Imperative, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Public Deliberation. His research interests include historical and contemporary forms of civic engagement and the public philosophies that animate c­ itizens. He earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from St. Bonaventure University, master’s degrees in public administration and theological studies, respectively, from the U ­ niversity of Dayton, and his PhD in education from Cornell U ­ niversity.


1. Peter Levine, “Seeing Like a Citizen: The Contributions of Elinor Ostrom to ‘Civic Studies’,” The Good Society 20, no. 1 (2011): 4. 2. Levine, “Seeing Like a Citizen,” 5, 6. Levine further develops the importance of these three matters in his forthcoming book, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Philosophy and Practice of Civic Renewal (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 3. Peter Levine, “What Is Civic Studies? Introducing the Tufts Summer Institute and Conference,” September 5, 2012, http://peterlevine.ws/?p=9658. 4. Levine, “What Is Civic Studies?” 5. This is a statement directly connected to an annual institute focused on civic studies held at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public ­Service at Tufts University. But it was also an articulation of a larger movement, both within higher education and beyond, seeking to foster a new sense of citizenship and civic life in our contemporary world. Examples of this larger movement in higher ­education include Robert G. Bringle, Richard Games, and Edward A. Malloy, eds., Colleges and U ­ niversities as Citizens (Boston: Allyn and Bacon,1999); John Saltmarsh and Matthew Hartley, eds., “To Serve a Larger Purpose”: Engagement for Democracy and the ­Transformation of Higher Education (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011); Scott J. Peters, Democracy and Higher Education: Traditions and Stories of Civic Engagement (East Lansing, MI: ­Michigan State University Press, 2010); Adrianna J. Kezar, Tony C. Chambers, and John C. Burkhardt, eds., Higher Education for the Public Good: Emerging Voices for a National Movement (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005); Richard Guarasci, Grant H. Cornwell, and Associates, Democratic Education in an Age of Difference: Redefining Citizenship in Higher Education (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997). Examples beyond higher education include Robert K. Fullinwider, ed. Civil ­ ublishers, ­Society, Democracy, and Civic Renewal (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield P 1999); Carmen Sirianni and Lewis A. Friedland, Civic Innovation in America: C ­ ommunity Empowerment, Public Policy, and the Movement for Civic Renewal (Berkeley: ­University of C ­ alifornia Press, 2001); Carmen Sirianni and Lewis A. Friedland, The Civic Renewal Movement: Community Building and Democracy in the United States (Dayton, OH: ­Kettering Foundation Press, 2005); Harry C. Boyte, Everyday Politics: R ­ econnecting ­Citizens and Public Life (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004); John Gastil and Peter Levine, eds., The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: S­trategies for

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­Effective Civic ­Engagement in the Twenty-First Century, 1st ed. (San Francisco: ­Jossey-Bass, 2005); Peter Levine, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For. 6. Harry C. Boyte Stephen Elkin, Peter Levine, Jane Mansbridge, Elinor Ostrom, Karol Sołtan, and Rogers Smith, “Summer Institute of Civic Studies: Framing Statement,” 2009, http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/circle/summer-institute/summer-instituteof-civic-studies-framing-statement/. 7. Harry C. Boyte and Nancy Kari, in Building America, define public work as “. . . work by ordinary people that builds and sustains our basic public goods and resources— what used to be called “our commonwealth.’ It solves common problems and creates common things. It may be paid or voluntary. It may be done in community. It may be done as part of one’s regular job. . . . In the fullest sense of the term, public work takes place not only with an eye to public consequences, it also is work ‘in public’—work that is visible, open to inspection, whose significance is widely recognized. And it is this cooperative civic work of ‘a public’: a mix of people whose interests, backgrounds, and resources may be quite different. Public work focuses our attention on a point that we have largely lost in our age of high technology: We help to build the world through our common effort. What we have built and created we can also recreate. Thus, public work suggests new possibilities for democracy.” Harry C. Boyte and Nancy N. Kari, Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996), 16–17. 8. Levine, “Seeing Like a Citizen,” 7. On the tension between disciplines, see Jerome Kagan, The Three Cultures: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Humanities in the 21st Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 245–275. 9. For examples of the Progressive Era’s appeal to contemporary scholarship, see Eldon J. Eisenach, The Lost Promise of Progressivism (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1994); Leon Fink, Progressive Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Democratic Commitment (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997); Kevin Mattson, Creating a Democratic Public: The Struggle for Urban Participatory Democracy During the Progressive Era (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998); Peter Levine, The New Progressive Era: Toward a Fair and Deliberative Democracy (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000); Bob Pepperman Taylor, Citizenship and Democratic Doubt: The Legacy of Progressive Thought (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004); William M. Sullivan, Work and Integrity: The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005). 10. It should be noted that the more common reference to these intellectuals is the “Brain Trust,” but two of the individuals included in this circle of academics—Raymond Moley and Rexford Tugwell—insist the proper name is “Brains Trust.” Cited in Howard Zinn, “Introduction,” in New Deal Thought, ed. Howard Zinn (New York: The BobbsMerrill Company, 1966), xv. See also Anthony J. Badger, The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933–40 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1989), 6. 11. Badger, The New Deal, 6; Richard S. Kirkendall, “Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Service Intellectual,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 49, no. 3 (1962): 456. ­Kirkendall contrasted service intellectuals with their disengaged counterparts: ­“Contrasting sharply with those men of ideas who could not tolerate the nearly ­overwhelming pressure of affairs in America, service intellectuals interpreted their role in terms of active service to their society.” 12. M. L. Wilson, “Patterns of Rural Cultures,” in Agriculture in Modern Life, ed. O.E. Baker, Ralph Borsodi, and M. L. Wilson (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1939), 218.

sha ffe r | Deliberative Politics in the New Deal | 1 4 9 13. Andrew Jewett emphasizes the role that leading scholars played in the Schools. This is especially true for scholars from private institutions. See Andrew Jewett, ­“Philosophy, Deliberative Democracy, and the Cultural Turn in the 1930s USDA,” in Education, Democracy, and Justice, ed. Danielle S. Allen and Rob Reich (forthcoming). 14. Jess Gilbert, “Democratic Rationalization: The Ideology of Agrarian Intellectuals in the Third New Deal,” Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association (New Orleans, LA, 1996), 9. For a complete list of topics, see David Lachman, “Democratic Ideology and Agricultural Policy ‘Program Study and Discussion’ In the U.S. ­Department of Agriculture, 1934–1946” (Master’s Thesis, University of Wisconsin— Madison, 1991), 57–59. 15. Carl F. Taeusch, “Freedom of Assembly,” Ethics 63, no. 1 (1952): 41; Carl F. Taeusch, “Division Activities—February, 1943,” Record Group 83, Box 535, Entry 19, Folder “Division of Program Study and Discussion”, The Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, National Archives; Lachman, “Democratic Ideology and ­Agricultural Policy “Program Study and Discussion” In the U.S. Department of ­Agriculture, 1934–1946”, 50. 16. Melissa Bass, “The Success and Contradictions of New Deal Populism: The Case of the Civilian Conservation Corps,” The Good Society 21, no. 2 (2012): 253. 17. F. F. Elliott, “We, the People . . .” Land Policy Review 2, no. 3 (1939): 2. 18. Namely, Carl F. Taeusch, the director of the unit that designed and implemented the farmer discussion group program and the Schools of Philosophy for Extension Workers within the USDA. 19. See Scott J. Peters, Changing the Story About Higher Education’s Public ­Purposes and Work: Land-Grants, Liberty, and the Little Country Theater (Ann Arbor, MI: ­Imagining America (Foreseeable Futures Position Paper #6, published by Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life), 2007). 20. Jess Gilbert, “A Usable Past: New Dealers Henry A. Wallace and M. L. ­Wilson Reclaim the American Agrarian Tradition,” in Rationality and the Liberal Spirit: A  ­Festschrift Honoring Ira Lee Morgan, ed. The Centenary College Department of ­English (Shreveport, LA: A Centenary Publication, 1997), 135. 21. Henry A. Wallace, Democracy Reborn: Selected from Public Papers and Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Russell Lord (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1944), 44–45. 22. Henry A. Wallace, “We Are More Than Economic Men,” Scribner’s Magazine 96, no. 6 (1934); M. L. Wilson, “Beyond Economics,” in Farmers in a Changing World, ed. Gove Hambidge (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1940). 23. M. L. Wilson, “Facets of County Planning: I. On Using Democracy,” Land Policy Review 2, no. 1 (1939): 2. 24. M. L. Wilson, “The Democratic Processes and the Formulation of Agricultural Policy,” Social Forces 19, no. 1 (1940): 11. 25. Wilson, “Patterns of Rural Cultures,” 218; M. L. Wilson, “The New Department of Agriculture,” Address before the Annual Meeting of the Texas Agricultural Workers Association (Fort Worth, TX, 1939), 10–11; Wilson, “Beyond Economics.” 26. M. L. Wilson, “Discussion Time Is Here,” Extension Service Review 6, no. 10 (1935). 27. M. L. Wilson, “Education for Democracy,” in Education for Democracy: ­Proceedings of the Nineteenth American Country Life Conference, Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 10–13, 1936, ed. Benson Y. Landis (Chicago; New York: University of Chicago Press; American Country Life Association, 1937), 9.

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28. Wilson, “Education for Democracy,” 9, 10. 29. Wilson, “Education for Democracy,” 15, 16. Education had long played an essential role in the shaping of American democracy. On its origins, see Carl F. Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780–1860 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983). On Knapp’s demonstration method, see Wayne D. Rasmussen, Taking the University to the People: Seventy-Five Years of Cooperative Extension (Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1989), 34. 30. M. L. Wilson, “Great Decisions Upon Which the Future of Rural Life Will Depend,” in Country Life Programs: Proceedings of the Eighteenth American Country Life Conference, Columbus, Ohio, September 19–22, 1935, ed. Benson Y. Landis (Chicago: ­University of Chicago Press for the American Country Life Association, 1936), 105. 31. John LaFarge, “The Farmers Are Taught How to Be Cultured Pagans,” America, April 6, 1940; Carl F. Taeusch, “Correspondence: Pagan Farmers,” America, April 27, 1940.