“Taking the Pulse of the American People,” or, in short, The Pulse Project, records the experiences, thoughts, and opinions of “everyday” people in the United States in the 21st century. Volunteer participants from all walks of life and of all political persuasions reflect on their lives and share their thoughts about the world around them in a time of ongoing change. Several times a year, they reflect on open-ended questions sent out by the project leaders. As they accumulate, these reflections create a unique archive of the 21st -century human experience.

The idea for The Pulse Project was born from concern about deepening social divisions and growing political strife in the United States over the last decade. The project seeks to advance dialogue in a country that seems to have lost its ability for civic exchange across the political aisle. As it engages citizens from the ground up, the project seeks to foster individual reflection and mutual recognition in the service of kindling a new dialogue across political divides. At the same time, The Pulse Project allows us to create an archive of our historic present that will provide an imprint of our rapidly evolving social conditions in ways that no other archive currently does. It will record the pulse of the nation, year after year.