Civic Engagement Research Paper

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Civic Engagement and Social Capital I believe Robert Putnam is correct about the importance of civic engagement and its impact on the quality of life in American Communities and Society. However, I do not agree with his assessment that social capital is on the decline. I do believed that the assessment of the increase or decline of social capital in the United States depends on which indicators of social capital are being assessed. In an article on social capital by Pamela Paxton of Ohio State University, she states that “many different measures can be and have been posited as indicators of social capital...researcher can choose among many pieces of data that provide contrary pictures of the health of social capital in the United States”…show more content…
2). While it might be true that some measures of civic engagement, as pointed out by Putnam, may suggest a decline in civic engagement creating a negative impact of the quality of life in American Communities and Society, there is also ample evidence that involvement in civic engagement in recent decades that has created positive impacts the quality of life in American Communities and Society. One example is the grass roots movement that resulted in the passing of “Timothy's Law” in 2006—requiring health plans sold in the State of New York to provide comparable coverage for mental health ailments as it does for physical ailments. Sadly the event that brought focus on the need for this law was the suicide of a 12 year old boy named Timothy with mental illness resulting from the lack of funding to continue mental treatment. Timothy's parents worked to create awareness of this issue resulting in a large number of New Yorkers coming together to address and eventually pass legislation that addressed this…show more content…
Additionally, it is an example of civic engagement that began in the decades that Putnam points to as when social capital was thriving, yet the civic engagement continues to gain momentum during the decades he points to as the decline of social capital. In 2004, the first legal gay marriage was performed in Cambridge, MA. Prior to 2004, gay marriage was illegal in all 50 states. Since then proponents of gay marriage have worked together to change public opinion, state laws and eventually the federal law so that now gay marriage is legal across all the states. According to, the gay rights movement can be traced back to 1969. Between 1969 and 1974 (the decades Putnam posits social capital was thriving) the number of gay organizations in the country swelled from fewer than 50 to nearly a thousand. Moving forward through the end of the 1900s and into the 2000s (the decades Putnam posits social capital was on the decline) the gay right movement continued to grow as more and more individuals joined the movement. Along the way milestones were achieved that strengthened the movement to eventually allowed for the monumental decision that gay marriage is a constitutional right and legal in all 50 state to be

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