Download high-resolution image Look inside
Listen to a clip from the audiobook
audio pause button
0:00
0:00

The Bill of Obligations

The Ten Habits of Good Citizens

Look inside
Listen to a clip from the audiobook
audio pause button
0:00
0:00
Best Seller
Watch the PBS companion documentary “A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy”

An indispensable guide to good citizenship in an era of division and rancor.” —Anne Applebaum

There is no question that the United States faces dangerous threats from without; the greatest peril to the country, however, comes from within. In The Bill of Obligations, bestselling author Richard Haass argues that, to solve our climate of division and safeguard our democracy, the very idea of citizenship must be revised and expanded. The Bill of Rights is at the center of our Constitution, yet the most intractable conflicts often emerge from cases that, as former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer pointed out, “are not about right versus wrong. They are about right versus right.”

There is a way forward: to place obligations on the same footing as rights. The ten obligations that Haass introduces here reenvision what it means to be an American citizen, to commit to our fellow citizens and counter the growing apathy, anger, and violence that threaten us all.

Through an expert blend of civics, history, and political analysis, this book illuminates how Americans across the political spectrum can rediscover how to contribute to and reshape this country’s future.
© Kaveh Sardari
Dr. Richard Haass is president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations. An experienced diplomat and policymaker, he served in the Pentagon, State Department, and White House under four presidents, Democrat and Republican alike. A recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Tipperary International Peace Award, he is the author or editor of fifteen other books, including the bestselling The World: A Brief Introduction, A World in Disarray, and Foreign Policy Begins at Home. View titles by Richard Haass
PART ONE
The Crisis of Our Rights-Based Democracy
Rights and Their Limits                                                      
Democratic Deterioration    
                                              

PART TWO
The Bill of Obligations
OBLIGATION I : Be Informed                                               
OBLIGATION I I : Get Involved                                            
OBLIGATION I I I : Stay Open to Compromise                    
OBLIGATION I V: Remain Civil                                          
OBLIGATION V: Reject Violence                                         
OBLIGATION V I : Value Norms                                          
OBLIGATION V I I : Promote the Common Good             
OBLIGATION V I I I : Respect Government Service           
OBLIGATION I X: Support the Teaching of Civics         
OBLIGATION X: Put Country First   
                               

Conclusion   
                                                                      

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS                                                                             
WHERE TO GO FOR MORE                                                                 
NOTES                                                                                                            
INDEX
PREFACE

I have spent my career studying, practicing, writing about, and speaking on American foreign policy, and a question I frequently hear is “Richard, what keeps you up at night?” Often, evenbefore I get to answer, the person posing the question suggests potential answers. Is it China? Russia? North Korea? Iran? Terrorism? Climate change? Cyberattacks? Another pandemic?

In recent years I started responding in a way that surprised me and many in the room. The most urgent and significant threat to American security and stability stems not from abroad but from within, from political divisions that for only the second time in U.S. history have raised questions about the future of American democracy and even the United States itself. These divisions also make it near impossible for the United States to address many of its economic, social, and political problems or to realize its potential. Many Americans (for a range of reasons) share my concern; according to a recent poll, a plurality (21 percent) believe that “threats to democracy” is the most important issue facing the country, surpassing cost of living, the economy, immigration,and climate change.

The deterioration of our democracy also has adverse consequences for our country’s ability to contend with Russian aggression, a much more capable and assertive China, and a host of other regional and global challenges. Deep political divisions make it difficult—or even impossible—to design and implement a steady foreign policy at a time when what happens in the world deeply affects what happens at home. Similarly, a country at war with itself cannot set an example that people elsewhere will want to emulate. If democracy fails here, democracy will be endangered everywhere. The storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, along with other attempts to overturn a free and fair election, made clear America’s internal divisions had reached a qualitatively different and dangerous level. There is overwhelming evidence that members of Congress as well as the then president of the United States and his close associates were not only aware of what was being planned but were intimately involved. And even though Inauguration Day took place two weeks later, even though American democracy proved resilient, the outcome might have been different had it not been for the courage and character of a few state officials, Capitol police, and the serving vice president. It was a close‑run thing—much too close for comfort.

What is more, the threat to American democracy is not limited to those who stormed the Capitol or the elected officials who cheered them on. An equally serious threat stems from the slow but steady erosion of popular support for democracy’s underpinnings.

Before going on, I should perhaps say a few things about my‑self and what motivated me to write this book. I am not particularly partisan. I have worked for one Democratic senator, one Democratic president, and three Republican presidents. I began my political odyssey as a liberal Democrat, someone opposed to the war in Vietnam. My ideas began to change when I did my graduate work at Oxford in the 1970s, during which time I studied more history, read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s powerful denunciations of the Soviet system, and watched up close the illiberalism of the British Labour Party and the rise of a principled Margaret Thatcher. For most of my adult life I was a registered Republican, although in the summer of 2020 I reluctantly concluded I was no longer comfortable in that party and changed to no party affiliation. But even when I was a Republican I would at times vote for Democrats. Party was never as important to me as individual candidates and issues. As I write this, I serve as the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an institution dedicated to being a nonpartisan resource for Americans across the political spectrum on questions of U.S. foreign policy and the country’s relationship with the world.

In short, what led to this book is not my political preferences.

I am motivated by what keeps me up at night: our democracy is imperiled, and its demise would be an incalculable loss to this country’s citizens and to the world. My belief is that it can be
saved only if Americans across the political spectrum come to accept that citizenship involves more than their asserting—or the government’s protecting—what they understand to be their
rights.

I have come around to the view that our very concept of citizenship needs to be revised, or better yet expanded, if American democracy is to survive. As two leading political scientists wrote in a classic study, “The development of a stable and effective democratic government depends upon more than the structures of government and politics: it depends upon the orientations that people have to the political process—upon the political culture.” Yes, respect for individual rights remains basic to the functioning of this or any democracy, but rights alone do not a successful democracy make. A democracy that concerns itself only with protecting and advancing individual rights will find itself in jeopardy, as rights will come into conflict with one another. When they inevitably do, it is essential that there is a path for citizens to compromise or a willingness to coexist peacefully and work with those with whom they disagree.

Beyond rights, obligations are the other cornerstone of a successful democracy—obligations between individual citizens as well as between citizens and their government. Obligations—akin
to what Danielle Allen calls “habits of citizenship”—are things that should happen but that the law cannot require. Without a culture of obligation coexisting alongside a commitment to rights, American democracy could well come undone. We need nothing less than a “Bill of Obligations” to guide how we teach, understand, and conduct our politics.

I write in full awareness that I have long been associated with the establishment—people and institutions that have often been vilified and blamed for the failures of democracy. Some of these criticisms are well‑founded. The purpose of this book is not to defend the past. It is to help build our common future, to remind readers why democracy should be cherished and suggest what could be done to preserve it. What fills these pages is a mixture of reflection and advocacy, written out of aspiration.

Implicit in all this is the conviction that American democ‑ racy is most decidedly worth keeping. The American experiment has with one obvious exception managed to sort out its differences without experiencing civil conflict on a large scale. This worthy experiment has been a sanctuary for tens of millions of immigrants fleeing persecution or seeking opportunity, and a safe harbor for political expression and religious freedom. Our nation is also an engine of innovation, creating unprecedented wealth for hundreds of millions of people and increasing average life expectancy by decades for its citizens. Beyond its borders, the United States proved central to defeating fascism in World War II, navigating a Cold War that ended peacefully and on terms largely consistent with American interests and values, and fashioning a world order that for all its flaws ended the colonial era and built international arrangements that have brought greater prosperity, freedom, and health to literally billions of people.

Yet American democracy has also come up short in meaningful ways. There is an enormous gap between the words of the Declaration of Independence—“that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”— and reality, including but not limited to the treatment of Native Americans and the institution of slavery and the status of women. This country has failed to adequately deal with discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or country of origin. Equal opportunity for many has been a hope rather than a reality. Nor has the country always lived up to its stated values and principles abroad, frequently supporting leaders who showed little fidelity to democratic values or the rule of law.

But progress—slow and winding—has been made over the decades toward America fulfilling its promise. The hard‑fought passage of the Thirteenth through Fifteenth, as well as the Nineteenth, Amendments to the Constitution, civil rights legislation, the legalization of same‑sex marriage—all demonstrate that this country has an ability to recognize and correct mistakes and introduce political reform and policy change. This is another built‑in advantage of democracies. Certainly more must be done, but as Winston Churchill put it, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all‑wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried.”
The stakes for the United States and its approximately 330 million citizens are difficult to exaggerate. Inability to come to agreement on policies to strengthen American democracy has the potential to disrupt the economy and society alike. Essential public services could deteriorate or break down entirely. Political rights taken for granted could be suspended or compromised. Violence on a large scale, be it by ordinary criminals or those with a political agenda, the latter meeting the definition of terrorism, has become all too imaginable. And although an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose it, attempted secession from the union by one or more states cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Moreover, what is at stake does not end at the water’s edge, at the country’s borders. A United States that is divided and de‑ fined by politics will be in no condition to set an example that others will want to emulate. This was a theme central to President Jimmy Carter’s inaugural address: “Our nation can be strong abroad only if it is strong at home. And we know that the best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.” The perceived failure of American democracy to function and deliver provides an opportunity for authoritarian regimes to justify their repression of their own citizens and others. In order to deter would‑be foes and provide security to friends and allies, Ameri‑ cans must be able to come together across partisan divides. Our current political atmosphere is a recipe for diminished U.S. influence, the expansion of Chinese and Russian sway, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and increased conflict in the world. As I argued in a book published nearly a decade ago, foreign policy begins at home.

After January 6, Chinese television was filled with images of the violence and disarray at the Capitol. This is instructive. China and its government‑dominated authoritarian model would likely be the principal beneficiaries if democracy here were to fail. Those who purport to be tough on China are being anything but if they weaken democracy here in the United States. Similarly, a country paralyzed by internal divisions will be in no condition to help shape international responses to global challenges that could de‑ fine this century, including but not limited to infectious disease, climate change, the spread of nuclear weapons, and terrorism. All of this would come at great cost to Americans and to others, as little stays local for long in a globalized world.

The question is whether we the people will meet these challenges. My goal is to see that we do. My assessment is that doing so is essential, as democracy cannot otherwise be preserved. Part One of this book begins with a discussion of how rights came to occupy so central a place in American democracy and goes on to examine the mounting evidence that this rights‑based democracy is failing. Part Two of the book sets out ten obligations that, if adopted by a preponderance of citizens, would go a long way toward fixing American democracy. Putting these obligations into practice, however, is up to us.
“Richard Haass has turned his keen mind and large heart to the most important of questions: The meaning of citizenship. If American democracy is to endure, it will require all of us to embrace what Haass calls our common obligations. This is a vital work for a decisive time.” —Jon Meacham, author of And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle
 
“Democracy is more than procedures and laws. It is an ethical ideal that requires much of us if it is to succeed. Richard Haass powerfully describes what he calls the Bill of Obligations, commitments and values needed for these challenging times. We may not see eye-to-eye on all the issues, but here I agree: we need a clear and thoughtful statement of our obligations to each other and to the country if this grand and fragile experiment in democracy is to survive. The Bill of Obligations does just that!”—Eddie Glaude, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, Princeton University
 
“Americans argue a lot about their rights, but, as Richard Haass reminds us, democracy only works if we also recognize our responsibilities. His newest book reminds us of what those are, providing an indispensable guide to good citizenship in an era of division and rancor.” —Anne Applebaum, author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism
 
“In this essential book, Richard Haass calls upon us all to commit anew to the obligations of American citizenship upon which our increasingly faltering American democracy was founded. He rightly observes that the future of this country, if not the world, depends on our answering this clarion call to put patriotic, civic obligation front and center in the national political conversation. This book’s message is desperately needed if we are to bring an end to the poisonous politics eating away at the fabric of our society and begin to mend our tattered nation.” —J. Michael Luttig, former United States Court of Appeals judge

“The reasoned arguments [Richard Haass] presents make his eloquent book well worth the read.” —Booklist

“Readers of every political stripe would benefit from hearing out these well-reasoned arguments.” —Kirkus

“Haass provides a clear roadmap for a concerned citizenry. While the book’s intended audience are American citizens, his ten obligations can apply to the citizens of any liberal democracy. This is a timely read and call to action for all citizens regardless of political party affiliation. In writing this book, Haass starts an important and necessary conversation for the future of American democracy. ” —Journal of International Social Studies

“Richard Haass has written a lucid and convincing case for placing the obligations of citizens on the same footing as their rights.” —PoliticsHome

About

Watch the PBS companion documentary “A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy”

An indispensable guide to good citizenship in an era of division and rancor.” —Anne Applebaum

There is no question that the United States faces dangerous threats from without; the greatest peril to the country, however, comes from within. In The Bill of Obligations, bestselling author Richard Haass argues that, to solve our climate of division and safeguard our democracy, the very idea of citizenship must be revised and expanded. The Bill of Rights is at the center of our Constitution, yet the most intractable conflicts often emerge from cases that, as former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer pointed out, “are not about right versus wrong. They are about right versus right.”

There is a way forward: to place obligations on the same footing as rights. The ten obligations that Haass introduces here reenvision what it means to be an American citizen, to commit to our fellow citizens and counter the growing apathy, anger, and violence that threaten us all.

Through an expert blend of civics, history, and political analysis, this book illuminates how Americans across the political spectrum can rediscover how to contribute to and reshape this country’s future.

Author

© Kaveh Sardari
Dr. Richard Haass is president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations. An experienced diplomat and policymaker, he served in the Pentagon, State Department, and White House under four presidents, Democrat and Republican alike. A recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Tipperary International Peace Award, he is the author or editor of fifteen other books, including the bestselling The World: A Brief Introduction, A World in Disarray, and Foreign Policy Begins at Home. View titles by Richard Haass

Table of Contents

PART ONE
The Crisis of Our Rights-Based Democracy
Rights and Their Limits                                                      
Democratic Deterioration    
                                              

PART TWO
The Bill of Obligations
OBLIGATION I : Be Informed                                               
OBLIGATION I I : Get Involved                                            
OBLIGATION I I I : Stay Open to Compromise                    
OBLIGATION I V: Remain Civil                                          
OBLIGATION V: Reject Violence                                         
OBLIGATION V I : Value Norms                                          
OBLIGATION V I I : Promote the Common Good             
OBLIGATION V I I I : Respect Government Service           
OBLIGATION I X: Support the Teaching of Civics         
OBLIGATION X: Put Country First   
                               

Conclusion   
                                                                      

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS                                                                             
WHERE TO GO FOR MORE                                                                 
NOTES                                                                                                            
INDEX

Excerpt

PREFACE

I have spent my career studying, practicing, writing about, and speaking on American foreign policy, and a question I frequently hear is “Richard, what keeps you up at night?” Often, evenbefore I get to answer, the person posing the question suggests potential answers. Is it China? Russia? North Korea? Iran? Terrorism? Climate change? Cyberattacks? Another pandemic?

In recent years I started responding in a way that surprised me and many in the room. The most urgent and significant threat to American security and stability stems not from abroad but from within, from political divisions that for only the second time in U.S. history have raised questions about the future of American democracy and even the United States itself. These divisions also make it near impossible for the United States to address many of its economic, social, and political problems or to realize its potential. Many Americans (for a range of reasons) share my concern; according to a recent poll, a plurality (21 percent) believe that “threats to democracy” is the most important issue facing the country, surpassing cost of living, the economy, immigration,and climate change.

The deterioration of our democracy also has adverse consequences for our country’s ability to contend with Russian aggression, a much more capable and assertive China, and a host of other regional and global challenges. Deep political divisions make it difficult—or even impossible—to design and implement a steady foreign policy at a time when what happens in the world deeply affects what happens at home. Similarly, a country at war with itself cannot set an example that people elsewhere will want to emulate. If democracy fails here, democracy will be endangered everywhere. The storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, along with other attempts to overturn a free and fair election, made clear America’s internal divisions had reached a qualitatively different and dangerous level. There is overwhelming evidence that members of Congress as well as the then president of the United States and his close associates were not only aware of what was being planned but were intimately involved. And even though Inauguration Day took place two weeks later, even though American democracy proved resilient, the outcome might have been different had it not been for the courage and character of a few state officials, Capitol police, and the serving vice president. It was a close‑run thing—much too close for comfort.

What is more, the threat to American democracy is not limited to those who stormed the Capitol or the elected officials who cheered them on. An equally serious threat stems from the slow but steady erosion of popular support for democracy’s underpinnings.

Before going on, I should perhaps say a few things about my‑self and what motivated me to write this book. I am not particularly partisan. I have worked for one Democratic senator, one Democratic president, and three Republican presidents. I began my political odyssey as a liberal Democrat, someone opposed to the war in Vietnam. My ideas began to change when I did my graduate work at Oxford in the 1970s, during which time I studied more history, read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s powerful denunciations of the Soviet system, and watched up close the illiberalism of the British Labour Party and the rise of a principled Margaret Thatcher. For most of my adult life I was a registered Republican, although in the summer of 2020 I reluctantly concluded I was no longer comfortable in that party and changed to no party affiliation. But even when I was a Republican I would at times vote for Democrats. Party was never as important to me as individual candidates and issues. As I write this, I serve as the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an institution dedicated to being a nonpartisan resource for Americans across the political spectrum on questions of U.S. foreign policy and the country’s relationship with the world.

In short, what led to this book is not my political preferences.

I am motivated by what keeps me up at night: our democracy is imperiled, and its demise would be an incalculable loss to this country’s citizens and to the world. My belief is that it can be
saved only if Americans across the political spectrum come to accept that citizenship involves more than their asserting—or the government’s protecting—what they understand to be their
rights.

I have come around to the view that our very concept of citizenship needs to be revised, or better yet expanded, if American democracy is to survive. As two leading political scientists wrote in a classic study, “The development of a stable and effective democratic government depends upon more than the structures of government and politics: it depends upon the orientations that people have to the political process—upon the political culture.” Yes, respect for individual rights remains basic to the functioning of this or any democracy, but rights alone do not a successful democracy make. A democracy that concerns itself only with protecting and advancing individual rights will find itself in jeopardy, as rights will come into conflict with one another. When they inevitably do, it is essential that there is a path for citizens to compromise or a willingness to coexist peacefully and work with those with whom they disagree.

Beyond rights, obligations are the other cornerstone of a successful democracy—obligations between individual citizens as well as between citizens and their government. Obligations—akin
to what Danielle Allen calls “habits of citizenship”—are things that should happen but that the law cannot require. Without a culture of obligation coexisting alongside a commitment to rights, American democracy could well come undone. We need nothing less than a “Bill of Obligations” to guide how we teach, understand, and conduct our politics.

I write in full awareness that I have long been associated with the establishment—people and institutions that have often been vilified and blamed for the failures of democracy. Some of these criticisms are well‑founded. The purpose of this book is not to defend the past. It is to help build our common future, to remind readers why democracy should be cherished and suggest what could be done to preserve it. What fills these pages is a mixture of reflection and advocacy, written out of aspiration.

Implicit in all this is the conviction that American democ‑ racy is most decidedly worth keeping. The American experiment has with one obvious exception managed to sort out its differences without experiencing civil conflict on a large scale. This worthy experiment has been a sanctuary for tens of millions of immigrants fleeing persecution or seeking opportunity, and a safe harbor for political expression and religious freedom. Our nation is also an engine of innovation, creating unprecedented wealth for hundreds of millions of people and increasing average life expectancy by decades for its citizens. Beyond its borders, the United States proved central to defeating fascism in World War II, navigating a Cold War that ended peacefully and on terms largely consistent with American interests and values, and fashioning a world order that for all its flaws ended the colonial era and built international arrangements that have brought greater prosperity, freedom, and health to literally billions of people.

Yet American democracy has also come up short in meaningful ways. There is an enormous gap between the words of the Declaration of Independence—“that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”— and reality, including but not limited to the treatment of Native Americans and the institution of slavery and the status of women. This country has failed to adequately deal with discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or country of origin. Equal opportunity for many has been a hope rather than a reality. Nor has the country always lived up to its stated values and principles abroad, frequently supporting leaders who showed little fidelity to democratic values or the rule of law.

But progress—slow and winding—has been made over the decades toward America fulfilling its promise. The hard‑fought passage of the Thirteenth through Fifteenth, as well as the Nineteenth, Amendments to the Constitution, civil rights legislation, the legalization of same‑sex marriage—all demonstrate that this country has an ability to recognize and correct mistakes and introduce political reform and policy change. This is another built‑in advantage of democracies. Certainly more must be done, but as Winston Churchill put it, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all‑wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried.”
The stakes for the United States and its approximately 330 million citizens are difficult to exaggerate. Inability to come to agreement on policies to strengthen American democracy has the potential to disrupt the economy and society alike. Essential public services could deteriorate or break down entirely. Political rights taken for granted could be suspended or compromised. Violence on a large scale, be it by ordinary criminals or those with a political agenda, the latter meeting the definition of terrorism, has become all too imaginable. And although an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose it, attempted secession from the union by one or more states cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Moreover, what is at stake does not end at the water’s edge, at the country’s borders. A United States that is divided and de‑ fined by politics will be in no condition to set an example that others will want to emulate. This was a theme central to President Jimmy Carter’s inaugural address: “Our nation can be strong abroad only if it is strong at home. And we know that the best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.” The perceived failure of American democracy to function and deliver provides an opportunity for authoritarian regimes to justify their repression of their own citizens and others. In order to deter would‑be foes and provide security to friends and allies, Ameri‑ cans must be able to come together across partisan divides. Our current political atmosphere is a recipe for diminished U.S. influence, the expansion of Chinese and Russian sway, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and increased conflict in the world. As I argued in a book published nearly a decade ago, foreign policy begins at home.

After January 6, Chinese television was filled with images of the violence and disarray at the Capitol. This is instructive. China and its government‑dominated authoritarian model would likely be the principal beneficiaries if democracy here were to fail. Those who purport to be tough on China are being anything but if they weaken democracy here in the United States. Similarly, a country paralyzed by internal divisions will be in no condition to help shape international responses to global challenges that could de‑ fine this century, including but not limited to infectious disease, climate change, the spread of nuclear weapons, and terrorism. All of this would come at great cost to Americans and to others, as little stays local for long in a globalized world.

The question is whether we the people will meet these challenges. My goal is to see that we do. My assessment is that doing so is essential, as democracy cannot otherwise be preserved. Part One of this book begins with a discussion of how rights came to occupy so central a place in American democracy and goes on to examine the mounting evidence that this rights‑based democracy is failing. Part Two of the book sets out ten obligations that, if adopted by a preponderance of citizens, would go a long way toward fixing American democracy. Putting these obligations into practice, however, is up to us.

Praise

“Richard Haass has turned his keen mind and large heart to the most important of questions: The meaning of citizenship. If American democracy is to endure, it will require all of us to embrace what Haass calls our common obligations. This is a vital work for a decisive time.” —Jon Meacham, author of And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle
 
“Democracy is more than procedures and laws. It is an ethical ideal that requires much of us if it is to succeed. Richard Haass powerfully describes what he calls the Bill of Obligations, commitments and values needed for these challenging times. We may not see eye-to-eye on all the issues, but here I agree: we need a clear and thoughtful statement of our obligations to each other and to the country if this grand and fragile experiment in democracy is to survive. The Bill of Obligations does just that!”—Eddie Glaude, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, Princeton University
 
“Americans argue a lot about their rights, but, as Richard Haass reminds us, democracy only works if we also recognize our responsibilities. His newest book reminds us of what those are, providing an indispensable guide to good citizenship in an era of division and rancor.” —Anne Applebaum, author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism
 
“In this essential book, Richard Haass calls upon us all to commit anew to the obligations of American citizenship upon which our increasingly faltering American democracy was founded. He rightly observes that the future of this country, if not the world, depends on our answering this clarion call to put patriotic, civic obligation front and center in the national political conversation. This book’s message is desperately needed if we are to bring an end to the poisonous politics eating away at the fabric of our society and begin to mend our tattered nation.” —J. Michael Luttig, former United States Court of Appeals judge

“The reasoned arguments [Richard Haass] presents make his eloquent book well worth the read.” —Booklist

“Readers of every political stripe would benefit from hearing out these well-reasoned arguments.” —Kirkus

“Haass provides a clear roadmap for a concerned citizenry. While the book’s intended audience are American citizens, his ten obligations can apply to the citizens of any liberal democracy. This is a timely read and call to action for all citizens regardless of political party affiliation. In writing this book, Haass starts an important and necessary conversation for the future of American democracy. ” —Journal of International Social Studies

“Richard Haass has written a lucid and convincing case for placing the obligations of citizens on the same footing as their rights.” —PoliticsHome

Celebrate 100 years of James Baldwin

We’re celebrating the centennial of James Baldwin’s birth by sharing a collection of his work. Explore titles and learn more about the literary legend and civil rights champion.   James Baldwin (1924–1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews, and his

Read more

The New York Times’s 100 Best Books of the 21st Century

The New York Times recently published their list “100 Best Books of the 21st Century.” We are pleased to announce that there are 49 titles published from Penguin Random House and its distribution clients included in this list. Browse our collection of Penguin Random House titles here. Browse the full list from The New York

Read more

2024 Middle and High School Collections

The Penguin Random House Education Middle School and High School Digital Collections feature outstanding fiction and nonfiction from the children’s, adult, DK, and Grupo Editorial divisions, as well as publishers distributed by Penguin Random House. Peruse online or download these valuable resources to discover great books in specific topic areas such as: English Language Arts,

Read more

PRH Education High School Collections

All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

Read more

PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

Read more

PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

Read more