Informed Citizens

The Foundation’s interests include classic and twenty-first century First Amendment issues and the larger challenge of the creation of a better informed citizenry. It currently has one open application grant program in the informed citizen area.


  • Applied History Course Development Program

    In line with its mission to ‘develop a better informed citizenry’, the Foundation’s focus in Applied History is narrower than the typical “big tent” definition of Applied History as the examination of recent or current-day issues through an analysis of historical precedents or parallel. The Foundation’s focus is on the development of undergraduate courses which prepare students for their role as citizens. The Foundation wishes to promote Applied History courses that examine U.S. public policy issues that students will confront throughout their lifetimes. It believes that a familiarity with the historical record on such major issues will help prepare students for their role as citizen and lead them to be more informed consumers of news and more responsible decision makers.

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  • A Prize Contest: Applying History to Help Reunite America


    As a recent Pew Research Center report notes: “Americans have rarely been as polarized as they are today.” It continues, “The studies we’ve conducted at Pew Research Center over the past few years illustrate the increasingly stark disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on the economy, racial justice, climate change, law enforcement, international engagement and a long list of other issues.” American leaders from both parties have identified this polarization as a major challenge for the nation.

    The Stanton Foundation encourages historians to use their expertise to illuminate current issues and choices. Its 2020 Applied History Essay Contest challenged historians to help clarify the crisis posed by the coronavirus pandemic and identify lessons learned from past pandemics. As the AHA Council noted at the time, “Historians can … play an important role by providing context, in this case shedding light on the history of pandemics and the utility of that history to policy formation and public culture.” The winning submissions can be viewed on our resources page.

    For this 2021 Applied History Essay Contest, the Stanton Foundation awarded prizes to authors of essays that offer the best lessons or clues from history for reuniting the United States.

    An advisory panel including historians from the Harvard Kennedy School, Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and the University of Chicago assisted in screening essay submissions. One grand prize winner received $10,000, and two runners-up won prizes of $5,000 each. The contest closed on July 4, 2021, and prize winners were announced on July 14, 2021.

About the Foundation

The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications and one of the television industry’s founding fathers.

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