Dunn’s Civics > Dunn

Dunn’s Civics

What do these seven Presidents have in common?


They all grew up with this civics textbook, first published in 1921, and they ALL accepted the New Deal: the American social contract, which is now being dismantled. Read More >>


“Our humanity rests upon a series of learned behaviors, woven together into patterns that are infinitely fragile and never directly inherited.”

Margaret Mead


Listen to a 1950s radio interview Margaret Mead did with Ed Murrow: Read More >>

Table of Contents:

  1. Our Common Purposes In Community Life
  2. How We Depend Upon One Another In Community Life
  3. The Need For Cooperation In Community Life  
  4. Why We Have Government
  5.  What Is Citizenship?
  6. What Is Our Community?  
  7. Our National Community
  8. A World Community
  9. The Community And The Home
  10. Education And The Community
  11. The Community's Health
  12. The Social, Aesthetic, And Religious Life Of The Community
  13. The Protection Of Property
  14. Communication
  15. Highways And Transportation
  16. Earning A Living
  17. Thrift
  18. Team Work In Industry
  19. How Government Serves Our Economic Interests Our Land And Its Resources
  20. Property Rights
  21. Dependent, Defective, And Delinquent Members Of The Community
  22. Team Work In Taxation
  23. How We Govern Ourselves
  24. Township And County Governments
  25. Our City Government
  26. Our State Governments
  27. Our National Government

All topics our news media avoid

"Dunn's Civics" taught our grandparents the civic virtues and beliefs that got us through the Great Depression...



In both his civics books, published in the early 1920s, Community Civics for City Schools and Community Civics and Rural Life.

Dunn lists the underlying features of community civics as follows:  

1. The demonstration to the young citizen, by reference to his own observation and experience, of the meaning of his community life (local and national), and of government in its relation to that life.

2. The cultivation of certain habits, ideals, and attitudes essential to effective participation in that life through government and otherwise.  

We are very far from Dunn’s ideals today.  The responsibility of preparing our young people to play their full part as citizens has diminished due to “teaching to the test” curricula and standardized evaluative measures.

Indeed, civics teaching in Dunn’s sense of the term has been declining rapidly since the early 1930s, and since the 1970s has been almost non-existent in our schools.


It is time to rectify this state of affairs. Hence our National Civics Education Program, from grade 7 through college. This will consist of two parts:

Open Civics website #5b.jpg

Part 1.
A two-year civics course for grades 7 and 8. The core of the course is the revision of Arthur Dunn’s civics texts, based upon the students’ own experience in his/her community This would be accomplished by the use of eLearning and student-produced video, and the full range of web tools combined with the techniques of investigative journalism and “open source intelligence.”

Open Civics website #6b.jpg

Part 2.  
Grade 9 through college: establish a public service role (or virtual internship using social media) for students in the oversight of Federal Agencies.

Please note: we applaud and encourage the numerous other civics initiatives that have evolved over the last few years (see examples below). Our National Civics Education Program differs from other approaches in that it marries Dunn's philosophy to the way in which young people now explore and learn about their world - through technology.

  • The Center for Civic Education,
  • The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement,
  • Sandra Day O’Connor,
  • The Dreyfuss Initiative, “To teach our kids how to run our country before they are called upon to run our country... if we don’t, someone else will run the country.”