In this Feb. 2, 2017 photo provided by Middle Tennessee State University professor Mary Evins, students take part in a role-playing game about the 1676 Bacon's Rebellion, in a class in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Mary Evins via AP)
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In state capitals, U.S. lawmakers attend workshops on how to avoid demonizing their opponents. On a college campus, students re-enact hard-fought debates that led to great compromises at the country's founding. Americans alarmed and disheartened by a coarsened culture and incivility in politics – especially following a brutal presidential campaign season that bared new lows in both – are fighting back with a range of initiatives around the U.S. to restore some semblance of decorum.That's where students have staged classroom role-plays of compromises from the 1787 Constitutional Convention, assuming the parts of the Founding Fathers to act out the give-and-take required to reach agreement on crucial but difficult decisions, such as how large and small states would share power.Even as polls find Americans say a civil tone in candidates is an important factor in how they vote, surveys have also shown people more accepting of personal attacks in politics.At Unity College in Maine, one of several civility initiatives aims to improve discourse at the person-to-person level.Civility efforts have even stretched outside of academia and government into less likely arenas.As these efforts spread, Evins at Middle Tennessee State acknowledges some frustration that despite so many attempts to improve discourse over the past decade, it has only worsened.
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