Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Second Department


Reader 1

Professor George Thomas

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© 2022 Torben Deese


The United States’ democracy has been losing empathy at an alarming rate. Both sides of the political aisle have lost respect and the ability to have constructive conversations about the future of our country. The polarization we have seen in this country has largely been a result of the limited ways in which we can develop empathy across cultures and regions in the United States. These limitations are related to trends in civic engagement and social bubbles that have grown in the United States over the last 30 years. A solution to this problem is a mandatory national service program. By creating an environment where people will need to immerse themselves in a new culture and engage in regular conversations with people from different regions and cultures, empathy can be developed. There are also many external benefits associated with national service that will make the project both viable and worthwhile. Through this program, polarization in the coming generations of voters will likely be alleviated. By breaking down social divisions, national service can revitalize American democracy.