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No other effort to reform American higher education is as attentive to the past as the civic engagement movement. The historical minded-ness of the movement is one of its strengths. Its explicit connection to the historical mission of American higher education makes it broadly appealing, and its base in John Dewey's progressive theories of education give it an intellectual heft missing in other reform movements. But the civic engagement movement's use of history is not always well-considered. As a result, the movement has not taken full advantage of the historical profession's insights into civic engagement. Nor has it adopted the historical practices that can deepen civic engagement efforts and the partnerships that underlie them. In particular, the movement would be well-served by paying more attention to the historical analogies it uses and examining more closely the contexts out of which successful models of civic engagement grow.