Civic education programs have always played a distinctive role in the American education curriculum. For the most part, however, civic education has been associated with civic knowledge and the cultivation of a cognitive faculty thought to be identical with political judgement (private judgment on public issues).
Perhaps this has been appropriate to a society which understood democracy primarily as a system of accountability in which elected representatives do most of the actual governing and "citizens" limit themselves to the passive roles of voter and watchdog.
Barber, Benjamin R., "Public Talk and Civic Action: Education for Participation in a Strong Democracy" (1989). Civic Engagement. 7.