Hans Zeiger in
American Heritage:
“For America’s 250th Birthday, Let’s Think Local”

Hans Zeiger in American Heritage:
“For America’s 250th Birthday, Let’s Think Local”


JMC president Hans Zeiger writes for American Heritage on recognizing local communities’ impact on our nation’s history:

The coming of America’s bicentennial in 1976 inspired thousands of citizens to get involved in the work of local history. Collecting, recording, displaying, and recounting the stories of institutions, neighborhoods, and families was a way for people to celebrate America’s history on the scale at which they tend to experience it — the local level. 

Our nation’s upcoming 250th anniversary will encourage Americans to get in touch with their heritage.

In my hometown of Puyallup, Washington, a group of local history enthusiasts set to work on collecting community records. When it was complete, the Pacemakers Project was a multi-volume, bound treasure trove of historical information, including biographical sketches of pioneers, business leaders, politicians, and educators, plus short oral histories by an array of local residents. 

In preparing such a record for the bicentennial celebration, Puyallup was far from unique. In her book On Doing Local History, Carol Kammen writes that “the national celebration of the bicentennial took place, in its most meaningful form, in America’s hometowns. Just as during the period of the centennial celebration in 1876, the bicentennial stressed our hometown heritage, and with it came an outpouring of interest in local history.” 

Though initial federal-government planning for the bicentennial was centralized, the actual commemoration was highly decentralized…

Read the rest of the piece in American Heritage >>



Hans ZeigerHans Zeiger is the President of the Jack Miller Center, a nationwide network of scholars and teachers who are committed to advancing the core texts and ideas of the American political tradition. In preparation for the 250th anniversary of American independence in 2026, Hans is leading an ambitious campaign to expand the pipeline of scholars who are dedicated to the teaching of America’s founding principles and history, to seed and cultivate university campus centers for the study of the American political tradition, and to expand the teaching of core civic knowledge in America’s K-12 schools.

Hans previously served in state and local government in Washington State, including service as chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee and ranking member on the House Higher Education Committee. He gained a reputation as a bipartisan collaborator, being named by the National Institute for Civil Discourse as co-recipient of the Gabrielle Giffords Award for Civility in State Governance in 2015.

Hans led the Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute from 2012 to 2020. He was an adjunct professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University, a Leadership Fellow of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, and a Rodel Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Hans was also a trustee of the Washington State Historical Society.

Hans’s writings on public policy, history, and civil society have appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, National Review Online, and Seattle Times, among others.

Hans holds a bachelor’s degree from Hillsdale College and a master’s in public policy from Pepperdine University. He also studied American politics at Claremont Graduate University. He previously served as a public affairs officer in the Air National Guard. Hans and his wife Erin have two daughters.

Learn more about Hans Zeiger >>



Facebook iconTwitter iconFollow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates about lectures, publications, podcasts, and events related to American political thought, United States history, and the Western political tradition!



Want to help the Jack Miller Center transform higher education? Donate today.