The Divided Mind of American Liberalism

The Divided Mind of American Liberalism

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The Divided Mind of American Liberalism reveals the crisis at the heart of modern American liberalism. James Hurtgen's historical narrative traces the liberal movement through three periods of reform: the progressive movement, the New Deal, and the Great Society. Drawing on the views of political activists, presidents, and theorists the work examines the tensions that resulted in the ideological disunion-based on deep and lasting divisions over the desirability of centralized political power-of the communitarian "decentralists" and individualist "modernist" wings of the liberal movement. It documents how a "modernist" willingness to accept properly reformed, nationally exercised power held sway through much of the century only to be supplanted in the sixties and early seventies by "decentralists," champions of local government as the ideal political unit. This superb study demonstrates the central role liberalism has played in modern American political development and lays bare a liberal movement thrown into crisis by competing theories of social more

Product details

  • Hardback | 152 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 15.2mm | 317.52g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • bibliography, index
  • 0739103202
  • 9780739103203

Review quote

James R. Hurtgen divides American liberals into two groups, "decentralists" and "modernists," and traces their differing views on public policy through three periods of reform. The division itself is provocative and his account of how these two sensibilities competed among Progressive, New Deal, and Great Society activists is fair and compelling. The Divided Mind of American Liberalism is an important contribution to American political thought. -- Philip Abbott, Wayne State Universityshow more

About James R. Hurtgen

James R. Hurtgen is Professor of Political Science at more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Progressivism, A Divided Faith Chapter 2 Decentralists and Modernists During the New Deal Chapter 3 The Great Society and the Dominance of Modernist Liberalism Chapter 4 1968-75: The Triumph of Decentralist Liberalism Chapter 5 Communitarianism and Individualism in Liberal Theory Chapter 6 Conclusion: To Be From Somewhere and Nowhereshow more