Edgerton Essays

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.

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The Edgerton Essays are a joint project of American Compass and the Ethics and Public Policy Center. They feature working-class Americans sharing their perspectives on what they wish policymakers knew about the challenges facing their families and communities. Read American Compass executive director Oren Cass’s introduction to the series here.

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.

We are now accepting Edgerton Essay submissions from working-class Americans, particularly those without four-year degrees; please feel free to share our call for submissions or email Patrick Brown.

Covid’s Toll on the American Dream Share This

Ruby Nicole Day | Mar 03, 2021 | Coronavirus

The American Dream — people have hung on to those three little words for decades, passed them down for generations. But it’s hard to see how we can believe in the dream right now. To me, the American Dream is having a good paying job, having good health insurance, earning benefits for your family and […]

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Introducing the Edgerton Essays Share This

Oren Cass | Mar 03, 2021 | Edgerton Essays

The population of policy analysts and commentators is drawn inevitably from the ranks of the college-educated professionals who excel at and enjoy reading and writing all day. But as more of our politics and policies become nationalized, those doing the politicking and policymaking have tended to become ever more removed from large segments of the […]

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