For Teachers:
Magic Words

James Oliver Horton, Ph.D.
George Washington University
You know, America has some wonderful principles.  We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.  These are the magic words of American history and the American nation.  We are a nation with ideals that ought to be the envy of human kind.  We are a tremendously impressive nation in terms of what we want to be.  But, the fact of life is that from the beginning, we haven’t been what we said we were.  We haven’t been what we want to be.  The abolition of slavery was a step towards becoming what America said it wanted to be.  It seems to me that every citizen has a responsibility, and the responsibility is to live up to the highest ideals of your nation, and to do everything in your power to see that that nation lives up to its highest ideals.  You don’t have the luxury of being apathetic when it comes to pressing your nation towards its highest ideals.  That’s what being a citizen in a Democratic society means.