Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in SOCIAL FORCES 55:2 (December 1976), pp. 394-408.


This report presents findings from a nationwide replication of Stouffer's classic study of attitudes toward civil liberties. Central to Stouffer's interpretation of the origins of tolerance is his idea that exposure to social and cultural diversity encourages an appreciation of the importance of civil liberties for democracy. Trends in the 1950s suggested that Americans would increasingly be exposed to diversity with the result that the population would become more tolerant in the future. These propositions were examined using education, city size, region, exposure to mass media news, gender, and occupation as indices of exposure to diversity. With the exceptions of mass media exposure and employment for women, all of these variables were found to be significantly associated with tolerance. And, as Stouffer expected, tolerance has increased greatly over the past two decades.

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