Cooperative Extension has a rich history of providing research-based knowledge and functioning as a catalyst for change through community engagement. It is via this second dimension of its identity that Extension has long played a role in creating space for public issues to be understood through deliberative discussion. Rather than view the use of deliberation and discussion as only a recent development in Extension's approach to engaging citizens about public issues, I highlight efforts and challenges related to Extension's experiment with deliberation and discussion in the 1930s and 1940s and use this historic perspective to identify important implications for Extension today.

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