The Edgerton Essays

Aug 19, 2021

Today’s public square is too often closed to those without a narrow set of credentials. Politicians and pundits in Washington are consumed with ideological battles far removed from the day-to-day concerns of American workers and their families, and often seem incapable of even understanding them. Our policy debates are poorer for it, our policymakers less informed, and our fellow citizens excluded.

The Edgerton Essays are a joint project of American Compass and the Ethics and Public Policy Center, featuring working-class Americans sharing their perspectives on what they wish policymakers knew about the challenges facing their families and communities. The goal of the essays goal is to help inform policymakers and pundits about what matters most and why to the vast majority of Americans who have no day-to-day connection to our political debates, focusing especially on those who have not earned a college degree.

The Edgerton Essays are named for Norman Rockwell’s famous 1943 painting, “Freedom of Speech.” Rockwell depicted Jim Edgerton, a farmer in their small town, rising to speak and being respectfully listened to by his neighbors. That respectful, democratic spirit is too often missing today, and what we’re hoping to cultivate with this series.

Read as a Book (PDF)