The American Enterprise Institute published an essay Monday, “Music and Civic Life in America,” that traces the ways in which music has occupied meaningful space in both the public and private lives of Americans throughout U.S. history.

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“Being nonverbal, music may communicate more universally than any given language, and yet what is universal is not necessarily civic,” David Tucker and Nathan Tucker wrote for AEI. “Music is thus both above and below civic life, both more private and more shared. The naturally tenuous connection between music and civic life has been particularly evident in America, and the connection has grown more tenuous or ambiguous over time. (Yet) American music remains perhaps the best expression of what America is.”

A caption above “Music and Civic Life in America” identifies the essay as the third “in a series exploring the role of professions in a modern, liberal democratic society and their effect on the civic culture of the nation.” The two previous essays in AEI’s Professions and Civic Culture series were “Educating for Liberty? The Shortcomings of Contemporary Civic Education Theories” (August 2012), and “Economists and Res Publica: The Virtues and Limits of Economic Analysis.”

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at or 801-236-6051.