The Rise of Trump and the Death of Civility

  • Keith J. Bybee
  • Law Culture and the Humanities, June 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1743872118785956

Is Trump destroying our sense of common decency?

What is it about?

Donald Trump's consistently unconventional behavior provokes outrage from critics and generates enthusiasm among his supporters. This article places Trump's behavior in historical perspective and shows that he is participating in a longstanding American tradition of shaping standards of public conduct through political conflict.

Why is it important?

Rather than presenting Trump's actions simply as an effort to destroy standards of appropriate behavior, this article demonstrates that he is engaged in a revolution of manners designed to create a new understanding of what counts as civility.


Keith Bybee
Syracuse University

I hope this article helps people see that civility is not a standard of behavior that somehow exists outside of our politics. Civility is instead a form of good manners determined through political debate and disagreement.

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