Charting a Path
towards Unity

Embracing unity is like exercise: A great and noble idea, but difficult and all too easy to forego. Yet the history of American democracy has proven that in extraordinary moments of unity, Americans can accomplish extraordinary things.

American democracy in the 21st century is struggling amid deep polarization. While disagreement is democracy’s oxygen, not since the Civil War have so many Americans held such radically opposed views not just of politics but of reality itself. The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy, working in concert with the university’s world-class faculty, will elevate the role of research and evidence-based reasoning into the national conversation. Drawing on original content anchored on facts and evidence, the Project seeks to make a meaningful contribution to bridging America’s deepest differences. The Project aims to inform thinking and reframe public discourse through the following initial themes:

  • Polarization: Its Past, Present and Future
  • Hours of Hope: Case Studies in American Progress
  • Race in America: Toward a Nation of Equality
  • Under God: The Role of Religion in a Divided Time
  • To Keep the Republic: Strengthening Democratic Principles at Home and Abroad
  • Information Marketplace: Ensuring the Public has the Data
  • Cultural Bridges: Using Artistic Expression to Narrow the Divide

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