The Center for Politics is an interdisciplinary, nonpartisan unit of the University of Virginia dedicated to the proposition that government works better when politics works better and its corollary that politics works better when citizens are informed and active participants.
People often think of politics as thwarting the proper function of
government. However, politics need not be viewed so negatively. The
political nature of American government is not to be deplored or regretted.
To the contrary, the Center views politics as human nature writ large with
mankind's virtues, not just vices, larger than life, and as a system well
designed by the Founders to enlarge the virtues and contain the vices.
Politics is the glue that holds together the most diverse democracy on the
face of the earth, counteracting the centrifugal forces that can potentially
tear the nation apart. Politics is the oil that lubricates the creaky
machinery of bureaucracy to make it more responsive. Therefore, rather than
the derogatory term it is often depicted as being, the Center embraces
politics in its motto "Politics is a Good Thing!"
The Center for Politics was founded in 1998 by UVA professor and author Larry J. Sabato at the University of Virginia and perpetuates the legacy of Thomas Jefferson who said, "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion."
The Center for Politics receives financial support from private-sector donors, foundations, corporations, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the federal government.
Serve as a leading academic institution on American politics and political engagement
Seek and evaluate best practices in politics and civic education
Develop and promote classroom resources in politics and civic education for elementary, secondary, and higher education
Raise awareness and understanding of politics through events, research and publications
Provide comprehensive educational resources on politics and civic
education for students,
teachers, journalists, elected officials, and the general public
Center Programs and Activities:
Youth Leadership Initiative
American Democracy Conference
National Symposium Series
Virginia Political History Project
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball
Debates, Lectures and other public events