To Promote the General Welfare [TO PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE]

Questions for Discussion

  1. The ultimate goal of our entire system is to encourage both government and the people to "promote the general welfare"--namely, to work together for the common good. Are we achieving this broad goal in the country today or moving further away from it?

    Alexis de Tocqueville, "Self-Interest: Rightly Understood," From Democracy in America, Volume II, Chapter 8

  2. How about in your neighborhood or community? Do public officials and citizens see themselves as working "to promote the general welfare" right now or merely to advance their own private interests? If you made an appeal on behalf of the "general welfare," would citizens and public officials take it seriously?

    Federalist Papers #45, James Madison, "Government and the Public Good"

  3. Americorps and Empowerment Zones are two programs aimed at helping individuals and communities work to achieve the "general welfare." Americorps aims at encouraging young people to perform community service. Empowerment Zones help inner city neighborhoods develop and implement comprehensive strategies for revitalization. They represent governmental efforts to encourage us to "promote the general welfare." Do you agree or disagree with these programs, as they are described? Why?

    Americorps: Corporation for National Service
    Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities

  4. What must citizens, organizations, business, and government do to "promote the general welfare" in relation to the specific goals for neighborhood or community improvement that you have set for yourselves within this process? What can you do to build a spirit of cooperation around these goals?

    Martin Luther King, "Facing the Challenge of a New Age," December, 1956
    Alliance for National Renewal, National Civic League

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