What can we do to address the prevailing sense of crisis in 21st century American civic and political life? From declining trust in government to increasing economic inequality to the rise of social media, the threats to our democracy seem to multiply, requiring nothing less than a fundamental reassessment of U.S. political institutions, civil society ecosystems, and civic norms. In anticipation of the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently released “Our Common Purpose”—a series of recommendations to strengthen our institutions, heal our civic culture, and achieve empowerment for all. With that report as a backdrop, this session will examine the root causes of these crises and discuss the bold steps necessary to build a more resilient democracy for the 21st century.