Focus Question: What are examples of civic, political, and private life in American society?

President Barack Obama at a town hall meeting on health care reform, 2009
President Barack Obama at a town hall meeting on health care reform, 2009


Relating to a city or town, especially in its administration; also, "municipal". Relating to the duties or activities of people in relation to their town, city or local area, as in "civic duty".

Examples of Civic Life:

A Stich in Time from Harvard University seeks to fulfill community needs of warm clothing and caring outreach.

Abigail Adams Society from Harvard University seeks to provide a forum where moderate, conservative, and libertarian women can discuss their views and ideals.

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A political life is one in which the bridge between the governance and the governed is crossed, to some degree. If a civic life is one lived within the parameters of the governing body of whatever society is being examined, then a political life is one that seeks to alter, correct, expand or narrow those parameters through interaction with the government.

Examples of Political Life:

Receiving services under President Obama's Health Care Reform
Social Security
TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program)
Political party participation

Female_Rose.pngWomen in Politics

Facts: Current Numbers and Historical Data on Women in Politics from the Center for American Women in Politics, Rutgers University

Facts about Women Legislators
  • After the 2012 election, 20 percent of the members of Senate are women; 18 percent of the members of the House of Representatives are women.

Fact Sheet: The Women's Leadership Gap, Center for American Progress (2014)

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Women's Political Participation around the World

Women in National Parliaments (October 31, 2012). On this list, before the 2012 elections, the United States was 82th of 190 nations

Youth Participation in Politics

Participatory Politics: New Media and Youth Political Action (2012).


Private life is the one removed from politics and civics, but protected, ensured or provided by both. For instance, our right to assemble is something we may explore in our private lives according to our personal interests, but it is protected by the Constitution (politics) so long as we also lead appropriate civic lives; not breaking the law, etc.

Private Golf Course
Private Golf Course

lesson_plan_icon.jpg A great lesson plan from Fairfax County Virginia that aims to point out to students the difference between political and civic life, and how the two interact with teach other on a daily basis.