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The founders of the American republic saw two motivations for individual civic participation: self-interest and civic duty. This book argues that the declining nature of traditional forms of civic participation in America over the last half century are the result of the evolution of larger institutional, social, and historical forces over the course of the nation's history - the expansion of citizenship, the changing political economy, and the growth of the national government - that have altered the calculus for individual civic participation, favoring the self-interest motivation at the expense of the civic duty motivation. This broad-stroke examination of civic participation offers a useful and much-needed corrective to the more behaviorally-oriented literature on participation, which relies heavily on recent (in historical terms) cross-sectional survey research to make its case. The goal of this book is to offer a diagnosis for how America has, in the context of civic participation, found itself where it is, and to expose the deep roots that explanation has in America's history and institutions.