Hans Zeiger in American Purpose: “Think Like George Washington”
George Washington’s legacy invites many reasons for reflection on the anniversary of his birth, not the least being the exhortations he made to his fellow citizens in the early days of the republic.
One such exhortation was Washington’s challenge to take civic education seriously. It was a recurring theme in his public addresses to Congress, beginning with his first message delivered in the Senate Chamber of Federal Hall in New York City in 1790. The points Washington made then about education and democracy, knowledge and citizenship, are well worth reconsidering today, over two centuries later.
“Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness,” Washington said in that first address. “In one in which the measures of government receive their impression so immediately from the sense of the community as in ours, it is proportionably essential.” In other words, education is universally important, Washington was arguing, but in a self-governing society where the people rule, it is indispensable…
Hans Zeiger is the president of the Jack Miller Center and comes to the organization with a background in state and local elected service, and has written and spoken extensively on topics related to American history and civics. Hans previously spent a decade in the Washington State legislature, 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. Following his legislative service, Hans was a member of the County Council for Pierce County, Washington State’s second largest county.
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. He was also a Leadership Fellow of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and a Rodel Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
He previously served as a public affairs officer in the Washington Air National Guard. He deployed in support of Operation ALLIES WELCOME, taking part in the resettlement of Afghan refugees in 2021.
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.
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