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The Unheavenly ChorusUnequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy$
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Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, and Henry E. Brady

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154848

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154848.001.0001

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The (Ambivalent) Tradition of Equality in America

The (Ambivalent) Tradition of Equality in America

Chapter:
(p.31) 2 The (Ambivalent) Tradition of Equality in America
Source:
The Unheavenly Chorus
Author(s):

Kay Lehman Schlozman

Sidney Verba

Henry E. Brady

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691154848.003.0002

This chapter considers the place of equality, in all its complexity, in the American civic culture. It draws evidence from several sources: the debates occasioned by the drafting and ratification of the federal constitution, Supreme Court decisions, the fifty constitutions of the separate states, and public opinion as measured in surveys over the past several decades. In considering American understandings of equality, this chapter moves beyond an emphasis on equality of political voice to encompass the multiple aspects of the concept of equality. A brief look at these sources provides a context of normative debate in which to understand the empirical evidence that forms the bulk of this work and suggests that, while Americans are egalitarians, they are somewhat ambivalent egalitarians.

Keywords:   equality, American civic culture, federal constitution, Supreme Court decisions, state constitutions, public opinion, equality, egalitarians

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