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Modern liberalism in the United States (often simply referred to in the United States as liberalism) is the dominant version of
liberalism in the United States Liberalism in the United States is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on concepts of unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental Liberalism, liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of ...
. It combines ideas of civil liberty and equality with support for
social justice Social justice is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, Equal opportunity, opportunities, and Social privilege, privileges within a society. In Western Civilization, Western as well as in older Culture of Asia, Asian cultures, the conc ...
and a regulated market economy. Economically, modern liberalism opposes cuts to the
social safety net The social safety net (SSN) consists of non-contributory assistance existing to improve lives of vulnerable families and individuals experiencing poverty and destitution. Examples of SSNs are previously-contributory social pensions, in-kind and foo ...
and supports a role for government in reducing inequality, providing education, ensuring access to healthcare, regulating economic activity and protecting the natural environment. This form of liberalism took shape in the 20th century United States as the franchise and other civil rights were extended to a larger class of citizens. Major examples include
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president of ...

Theodore Roosevelt
's Square Deal and New Nationalism,
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
's New Freedom,
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
's
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
,
Harry S. Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the ...

Harry S. Truman
's
Fair Deal The Fair Deal was an ambitious set of proposals put forward by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to Congress in his January 1949 State of the Union address The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message deliv ...
,
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
's
New Frontier The term New Frontier was used by Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th pre ...
and
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
's
Great Society The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States launched by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. It was coined during a 1964 speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson at Ohio University Ohio University (often ...
. In the first half of the 20th century, both major American parties had a
conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aest ...
and a
liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
wing. The conservative Northern Republicans and
Southern DemocratsSouthern Democrats are members of the U.S. Democratic Party who reside in the Southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural List of re ...
formed the
conservative coalition The Conservative Coalition was an unofficial Congressional coalition founded in 1937, which brought together the conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. ...
which dominated the
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
in the pre-
Civil Rights era#REDIRECT Civil rights movement#REDIRECT Civil rights movement {{Rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from related ...
{{Rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from related ...
. As the Democrats under President Johnson began to support civil rights, the formerly
Solid South The Solid South or Southern bloc was the electoral voting bloc of the states of the Southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural Li ...
, meaning solidly Democratic, became solidly Republican, except in districts with a large number of African-American voters. Since the 1960s, the
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
has been considered liberal and the
Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about polit ...
has been considered conservative. As a group, liberals are referred to as the left and conservatives as the right. Starting in the 21st century, there has also been a sharp division between liberals who tend to live in denser, more heterogeneous communities and conservatives who tend to live in less dense, more homogeneous communities.


Overview

The modern liberal philosophy strongly endorses public spending on programs such as
education Education is the process of facilitating , or the acquisition of , s, , morals, s, s, and personal development. Educational methods include , , , and directed . Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators; however, lea ...

education
,
health care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuab ...

health care
and
welfare Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and b ...
. Important
social issues A social issue is a problem that affects many people within a society. It is a group of common problems in present-day society and ones that many people strive to solve. It is often the consequence of factors extending beyond an individual's co ...
during the first part of the 21st century include
economic inequality 270px, Global share of wealth by wealth group, Credit Suisse, 2021 There are wide varieties of economic inequality, most notably measured using the distribution of incomeIn economics Economics () is the social science that studies ho ...
(
wealth Wealth is the abundance of Value (economics), valuable financial assets or property, physical possessions which can be converted into a form that can be used for financial transaction, transactions. This includes the core meaning as held in the o ...
and
income In microeconomics, income is the Consumption (economics), consumption and saving opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, which is generally expressed in monetary terms.Smith's financial dictionary. Smith, Howard Irving. 190 ...
),
voting rights Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called ac ...
for minorities,
affirmative action Affirmative action refers to a set of policies and practices within a government or organization seeking to increase the representation of particular groups based on their gender, race, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas in which they are un ...
,
reproductive Reproduction (or procreation or breeding) is the biological process by which new individual organisms – "offspring" – are produced from their "parent" or parents. Reproduction is a fundamental feature of all known life; each individual orga ...
and other
women's rights Women's rights are the and s claimed for and s worldwide. They formed the basis for the women's rights movement in the 19th century and the s during the 20th and 21st centuries. In some countries, these rights are institutionalized or supp ...
, support for
LGBT rights Rights affecting lesbian A lesbian is a Homosexuality, homosexual woman.Zimmerman, p. 453. The word ''lesbian'' is also used for women in relation to their sexual identity or sexual behavior, regardless of sexual orientation, or a ...
, and
immigration reform Immigration reform is change to the current immigration policy Border control is the measures taken by a state or a bloc of states to monitor its borders and regulate the movement of people, animals, and goods across the border. History Stat ...
. Modern liberalism took shape during the 20th century, with roots in
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president of ...

Theodore Roosevelt
's Square Deal and New Nationalism,
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
's New Freedom,
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
's
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
,
Harry S. Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the ...

Harry S. Truman
's
Fair Deal The Fair Deal was an ambitious set of proposals put forward by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to Congress in his January 1949 State of the Union address The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message deliv ...
,
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
's
New Frontier The term New Frontier was used by Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th pre ...
and
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
's
Great Society The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States launched by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. It was coined during a 1964 speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson at Ohio University Ohio University (often ...
. Modern liberals oppose
conservatives Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the traditional values or practices of the culture Culture () is an umbrella term w ...
on most but not all issues. Although historically related to
social liberalism Social liberalism (german: Sozialliberalismus, es, socioliberalismo) also known as New liberalism in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain ...
and
progressivism Progressivism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
, the current relationship between ''liberal'' and ''progressive'' viewpoints is debated. Modern liberalism is typically associated with the
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
while modern conservatism is typically associated with the
Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about polit ...
.Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, "More Now See GOP as Very Conservative
Pew press release September 12, 2011, online
/ref> In 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt defined a liberal party in the following terms: In 1960, John F. Kennedy defined a liberal as follows: Keynesian economic theory has played an important role in the economic philosophy of modern liberals.Kevin Boyle, ''The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968'' (1998) p. 152 Modern liberals generally believe that national prosperity requires government management of the macroeconomy in order to keep unemployment low, inflation in check and growth high. They also value institutions that defend against economic inequality. In ''
The Conscience of a Liberal ''The Conscience of a Liberal'' is a 2007 book written by economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from ec ...
'',
Paul Krugman Paul Robin Krugman ( ; born February 28, 1953) is an American economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts f ...
writes: "I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I'm proud of it". Modern liberals often point to the widespread prosperity enjoyed under a mixed economy in the years since
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
. They believe liberty exists when access to necessities like health care and economic opportunity are available to all and they champion the protection of the environment.John McGowan, ''American Liberalism: An Interpretation for Our Time'' (2007)Starr P. (March 1, 2007). "War and Liberalism." ''The New Republic''." "Liberalism wagers that a state ... can be strong but constrained – strong because constrained. ... Rights to education and other requirements for human development and security aim to advance the opportunity and personal dignity of minorities and to promote a creative and productive society. To guarantee those rights, liberals have supported a wider social and economic role for the state, counterbalanced by more robust guarantees of civil liberties and a wider social system of checks and balances anchored in an independent press and pluralistic society."


American versus European usage of ''liberalism''

Today, ''liberalism'' is used differently in different countries. One of the greatest contrasts is between the usage in the United States and usage in Europe. According to Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (writing in 1956), " beralism in the American usage has little in common with the word as used in the politics of any European country, save possibly Britain"."Liberalism in America: A Note for Europeans"
by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (1956) from: ''The Politics of Hope'' (Boston: Riverside Press, 1962).
In Europe, ''liberalism'' usually means what is sometimes called ''
classical liberalism Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a History of liberalism, branch of liberalism that advocates free market, civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on limited government, economic freedom, and political freedom. I ...
'', a commitment to
limited government In political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a f ...
, ''
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), d ...
'' economics and unalienable individual rights. This ''classical liberalism'' sometimes more closely corresponds to the American definition of ''
libertarianism Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of p ...
'', although some distinguish between ''classical liberalism'' and ''libertarianism''. In the United States, the general term ''liberalism'' almost always refers to modern liberalism, a more social variant of classical liberalism. In Europe, this
social liberalism Social liberalism (german: Sozialliberalismus, es, socioliberalismo) also known as New liberalism in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain ...
is closer to European
social democracy Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between indivi ...
, although the original form is advocated by some liberal parties in Europe as well as with the Beveridge Group faction within the Liberal Democrats, the
Liberals Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
, the
Danish Social Liberal Party The Danish Social Liberal Party ( da, Radikale Venstre, literally "Radical Left" or "Radical Liberals") is a social-liberal political party in Denmark. The party was founded as a split from the Venstre Reform Party in 1905. Historically, the ce ...
, the
Democratic Movement A democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, genera ...
and the
Italian Republican Party The Italian Republican Party ( it, Partito Repubblicano Italiano, PRI) is a liberal and social-liberal political party in Italy. Founded in 1895, the PRI is the oldest political party still active in Italy. The PRI has old roots and a long histo ...
.


Demographics of American liberals

A 2005
Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan Nonpartisanism is a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward, a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's ...

Pew Research Center
study found that liberals were the most educated ideological demographic and were tied with the conservative sub-group of the enterprisers for the most affluent group. Of those who identified as liberal, 49% were college graduates and 41% had household incomes exceeding $75,000, compared to 27% and 28% as the national average, respectively. Liberalism has become the dominant political ideology in academia, with 44–62% identifying as liberal, depending on the exact wording of the survey. This compares with 40–46% liberal identification in surveys from 1969 to 1984. The
social sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biol ...

social sciences
and
humanities Humanities are List of academic disciplines, academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with Divinity (academic discipline), divinity and referred to what is now called classic ...

humanities
were most liberal whereas business and engineering departments were the least liberal, although even in the business departments liberals outnumbered conservatives by two to one. This feeds the common question of whether liberals are on average more educated than conservatives, their political counterparts. Two Zogby surveys from 2008 and 2010 affirm that self-identified liberals tend to go to college more than self-identified conservatives. Polls have found that young Americans are considerably more liberal than the general population. As of 2009, 30% of the 18–29 cohort was liberal. In 2011, this had changed to 28%, with moderates picking up the two percent. A 2015 Gallup poll found that socially liberal views have consistently been on the rise in the United States since 1999. As of 2015, there is a roughly equal number of socially liberal Americans and
socially conservative Social conservatism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. ...
Americans (31% each) and the socially liberal trend continues to rise. In early 2016, Gallup found that more Americans identified as ideologically
conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aest ...
(37%) or
moderate Moderate is an ideological category which designates a rejection of radical politics, radical or extremism, extreme views, especially in regard to politics and religion. A moderate is considered someone occupying any mainstream position avoiding ext ...

moderate
(35%) rather than liberal (24%), but that liberalism has slowly been gaining ground since 1992, standing at a 24-year high.


21st century issues

In early 21st century political discourse in the United States, liberalism has come to include support for
reproductive rights Reproductive rights are legal right Natural rights and legal rights are the two basic types of rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental norma ...
for women, including abortion, affirmative action for
minority groups A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are fewer in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. However, in present-day sociology, ...
historically discriminated against,
multilateralism In international relations, multilateralism refers to an alliance of multiple countries pursuing a common goal. Definitions Multilateralism, in the form of membership in international institutions, serves to bind powerful nations, discourage ...
and support for international institutions, support for individual rights over corporate interests, support for universal health care for Americans (with a single-payer option), support for LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality and opposition to tax cuts for the rich.


History

Historian and advocate of liberalism Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. had explored in-depth the heritage of
Jacksonian democracy Jacksonian democracy was a 19th-century political philosophy in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily locat ...
in its influence on Franklin D. Roosevelt. Robert V. Remini, the biographer of
Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, soldier, and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of ...

Andrew Jackson
, also said:
Jacksonian Democracy Jacksonian democracy was a 19th-century political philosophy in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily locat ...
, then, stretches the concept of democracy about as far as it can go and still remain workable. ..As such it has inspired much of the dynamic and dramatic events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in American history—Populism, Progressivism, the New and Fair Deals, and the programs of the New Frontier and Great Society to mention the most obvious.
In 1956, Schlesinger said that liberalism in the United States includes both a ''
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), d ...
'' form and a
government intervention Economic interventionism, sometimes also called state interventionism, is an economic policy position favouring government intervention in the market process to correct market failure In neoclassical economics, market failure is a situation ...
form. He holds that liberalism in the United States is aimed toward achieving
equality of opportunity Equal opportunity is a state of fairness in which individuals are treated similarly, unhampered by artificial barriers or Prejudice, prejudices or preferences, except when particular distinctions can be explicitly justified. The intent is that the ...
for all, but it is the means of achieving this that changes depending on the circumstances. He says that the "process of redefining liberalism in terms of the social needs of the 20th century was conducted by
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president of ...

Theodore Roosevelt
and his New Nationalism,
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
and his New Freedom, and
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
and his
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
. Out of these three reform periods there emerged the conception of a social
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
, in which the national government had the express obligation to maintain high levels of employment in the economy, to supervise standards of life and labor, to regulate the methods of business competition, and to establish comprehensive patterns of social security". Some make the distinction between American classical liberalism and the new liberalism, better known as
social liberalism Social liberalism (german: Sozialliberalismus, es, socioliberalismo) also known as New liberalism in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain ...
.


Progressive Era

The
progressive movement Progressivism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability ...
emerged in the 1890s and included intellectual reformers typified by sociologist
Lester Frank Ward Lester Frank Ward (June 18, 1841 – April 18, 1913) was an American botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist ...

Lester Frank Ward
and economist
Richard T. Ely Richard Theodore Ely (April 13, 1854 – October 4, 1943) was an American economist, author, and leader of the Progressivism in the United States, Progressive movement who called for more government intervention in order to reform what they percei ...
. They transformed Victorian liberalism, retaining its commitment to civil liberties and individual rights while casting off its advocacy of ''
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), d ...
'' economics. Ward helped define what would become the modern welfare state after 1933. These often supported the growing working-class labor unions and sometimes even the socialists to their left. The
Social Gospel The Social Gospel is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. ...
movement was a Protestant intellectual movement that helped shape liberalism, especially from the 1890s to the 1920s. It applied Christian ethics to social problems, especially issues of social justice such as economic inequality, poverty, alcoholism, crime, racial tensions, slums, unclean environment, child labor, inadequate labor unions, poor schools and the danger of war.
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
's parents were active in the Social Gospel and had a lifetime commitment to it, for he sought to transform social problems into moral problems. This helps explain his longtime commitment to social justice as exemplified by the
Great Society The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States launched by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. It was coined during a 1964 speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson at Ohio University Ohio University (often ...
and his commitment to racial equality. The Social Gospel explicitly inspired his foreign-policy approach to a sort of Christian internationalism and nation building. In philosophy and education,
John Dewey John Dewey (; October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Meta ...
was highly influential. In 1900–1920, liberals called themselves progressives. They rallied behind Republicans led by
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president of ...

Theodore Roosevelt
and Robert M. La Follette as well as Democrats led by
William Jennings Bryan William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American orator and politician. Beginning in 1896, he emerged as a dominant force in the Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United Stat ...

William Jennings Bryan
and
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
to fight corruption, waste and big
trusts A trust is a legal relationship in which the holder of a right (eg. title to a chattel) gives it to another person or entity who must keep and use it solely for another's benefit. In English common law English law is the common law legal sy ...
(monopolies). They stressed ideals of social justice and the use of government to solve social and economic problems. Settlement workers such as
Jane Addams Laura Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 May 21, 1935) was an American Settlement movement, settlement activist, Social reform, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator and author. She was an important leader in the history of so ...

Jane Addams
were leaders of the liberal tradition. There was a tension between sympathy with labor unions and the goal to apply scientific expertise by disinterested experts. When liberals became anti-Communist in the 1940s, they purged leftists from the liberal movement. Political writer
Herbert Croly Herbert David Croly (January 23, 1869 – May 17, 1930) was an intellectual leader of the progressive movement as an editor, political philosopher and a co-founder of the magazine ''The New Republic ''The New Republic'' is an American magazi ...
helped to define the new liberalism through ''
The New Republic ''The New Republic'' is an American magazine of commentary on politics, contemporary culture, and the arts. Founded in 1914 by several leaders of the progressive movement, it attempted to find a balance between a humanitarian progressivism and ...
'' magazine and numerous influential books. Croly presented the case for a planned economy, increased spending on education and the creation of a society based on the "brotherhood of mankind". His highly influential 1909 book ''
The Promise of American Life ''The Promise of American Life'' is a book published by Herbert Croly Herbert David Croly (January 23, 1869 – May 17, 1930) was an intellectual leader of the progressive movement as an editor, political philosopher and a co-founder of the mag ...
'' proposed to raise the general standard of living by means of economic planning. Croly opposed aggressive unionization. In '' The Techniques of Democracy'' (1915), he also argued against both dogmatic individualism and dogmatic socialism. The historian Vernon Louis Parrington in 1928 won the Pulitzer Prize for ''Main Currents in American Thought''. It was a highly influential intellectual history of America from the colonial era to the early 20th century. It was well written and passionate about the value of
Jeffersonian democracy#REDIRECT Jeffersonian democracy Jeffersonian democracy, named after its advocate Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father ...
and helped identify and honor liberal heroes and their ideas and causes. In 1930, Parrington argued: "For upwards of half a century creative political thinking in America was largely western agrarian, and from this source came those democratic ideas that were to provide the staple of a later liberalism". In 1945, historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. argued in ''The Age of Jackson'' that liberalism also emerged from
Jacksonian democracy Jacksonian democracy was a 19th-century political philosophy in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily locat ...
and the labor radicalism of the Eastern cities, thereby linking it to the urban dimension of Roosevelt's New Deal.


Liberal Republicans

With its emphasis on a strong federal government over claims of state's rights, widespread entrepreneurship and individual freedom against the property rights of slave owners,
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

Abraham Lincoln
's presidency laid much of the groundwork for future liberal Republican governance. The Republican Party's liberal element in the early 20th century was typified by
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president of ...

Theodore Roosevelt
in the 1907–1912 period, although Roosevelt was more
conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aest ...
at other points. Other liberal Republicans included Senator Robert M. La Follette and his sons in Wisconsin (from about 1900 to 1946) and Western leaders such as Senator
Hiram Johnson Hiram Warren Johnson (September 2, 1866August 6, 1945) was an American attorney and politician who served as the Governor of California, 23rd governor of California from 1911 to 1917. Johnson achieved national prominence in the early 20th century ...

Hiram Johnson
in California, Senator George W. Norris in Nebraska, Senator in New Mexico, Congresswoman
Jeannette Rankin Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) was an American politician and women's rights advocate, and the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Repu ...
in Montana and Senator
William Borah William Edgar Borah (June 29, 1865 – January 19, 1940) was an outspoken Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually asso ...
in Idaho from about 1900 to about 1940. They were generally liberal in domestic policy as they supported unions and much of the
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
. However, they were intensely isolationist in foreign policy. This element died out by the 1940s. Starting in the 1930s, a number of mostly Northeastern Republicans took modern liberal positions regarding labor unions, spending and New Deal policies. They included Governor
Harold Stassen Harold Edward Stassen (April 13, 1907 – March 4, 2001) was an American politician who was the 25th Governor of Minnesota. He was a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 1948, considered for a tim ...

Harold Stassen
of Minnesota, Governor
Thomas E. Dewey Thomas Edmund Dewey (March 24, 1902 – March 16, 1971) was an American lawyer, prosecutor and politician. Raised in Owosso, Michigan, he was a member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party. Dewey served as the List of governo ...

Thomas E. Dewey
of New York, Governor
Earl Warren Earl Warren (March 19, 1891 – July 9, 1974) was an American politician and jurist who served as 30th governor of California The governor of California is the head of government of the U.S. state of California. The governor is the command ...

Earl Warren
of California, Senator
Clifford P. Case Clifford Philip Case, Jr. (April 16, 1904March 5, 1982), was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates ...
of New Jersey, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., of Massachusetts, Senator
Prescott Bush Prescott Sheldon Bush (May 15, 1895 – October 8, 1972) was an American banker as a Wall Street Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District This is a list of financial districts in cities around the world. ...
of
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 United States census, 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of List of U.S. states and territories by H ...
(father of George H. W. Bush), Senator
Jacob K. Javits Jacob Koppel Javits ( ; May 18, 1904 – March 7, 1986) was an Americans, American Lawyer, lawyer and Politician, politician. During his time in politics, he represented the state of New York (state), New York in both houses of the United States C ...
of New York, Governor and later Senator
Mark Hatfield Mark Odom Hatfield (July 12, 1922 – August 7, 2011) was an American politician and educator from the state of Oregon. A Republican Party (United States), Republican, he served for 30 years as a United States Senator from Oregon, and also ...

Mark Hatfield
of Oregon, Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, Senator
George Aiken George David Aiken (August 20, 1892November 19, 1984) was an American politician and horticulturist. A member of the Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organization that coor ...

George Aiken
of Vermont,
Governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...

Governor
William Scranton William Warren Scranton (July 19, 1917 – July 28, 2013) was an American Republican Party (United States), Republican Party politician and diplomat. Scranton served as the List of governors of Pennsylvania, 38th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1963 ...

William Scranton
of Pennsylvania and Governor George Romney of Michigan. The most notable of them all was Governor
Nelson Rockefeller Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979), sometimes referred to by his nickname, Rocky, was an American businessman and politician who served as the 41st vice president of the United States The vice president of the ...

Nelson Rockefeller
of New York. While the media often called them
Rockefeller Republican The Rockefeller Republicans, also called Moderate or Liberal Republicans, were members of the Republican Party (GOP) in the 1930s–1970s who held moderate to liberal views on domestic issues, similar to those of Nelson Rockefeller Nelson ...
s, the liberal Republicans never formed an organized movement or caucus and lacked a recognized leader. They promoted economic growth and high state and federal spending while accepting high taxes and much liberal legislation, with the provision they could administer it more efficiently. They opposed the Democratic big city machines while welcoming support from labor unions and big businesses alike. Religion was not high on their agenda, but they were strong believers in civil rights for African-Americans and women's rights and most liberals were
pro-choice Abortion-rights movements, also referred to as pro-choice movements, advocate for abortion law, legal access to induced abortion services including elective abortion. It is the argument against the anti-abortion movement. The Abortion rights movem ...
. They were also strong environmentalists and supported higher education. In foreign policy, they were internationalists, throwing their support to the moderate
Dwight D. Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In its broadest sense, the term " ...
over the conservative leader
Robert A. Taft Robert Alphonso Taft Sr. (September 8, 1889 – July 31, 1953) was an American conservative politician, lawyer, and scion of the Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organ ...
in 1952. They were often called "the Eastern Establishment" by conservatives such as
Barry Goldwater Barry Morris Goldwater (January 2, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was an American politician, statesman, businessman, United States Air Force officer, and author who was a five-term United States Senate, Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–19 ...

Barry Goldwater
. The Goldwater conservatives fought this establishment, defeated Rockefeller in the 1964 primaries and eventually retired most of its members, although some such as Senator
Charles Goodell Charles is a masculine given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, histor ...
and Mayor
John Lindsay John Vliet Lindsay (; November 24, 1921 – December 19, 2000) was an American politician and lawyer. During his political career, Lindsay was a U.S. congressman, mayor of New York City, and candidate for U.S. president. He was also a regular gue ...

John Lindsay
in New York became Democrats. As President, Richard Nixon adopted many of the liberals' positions regarding the environment, welfare and the arts. After Congressman of Illinois bolted the party in 1980 and ran as an independent against Reagan, the liberal Republicans element faded away. Their old strongholds in the Northeast and West Coast are now mostly held by Democrats.


New Deal

President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
came to office in 1933 amid the economic calamity of the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
, offering the nation a
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
intended to alleviate economic desperation and joblessness, provide greater opportunities and restore prosperity. His presidency was the longest in American history, lasting from 1933 to 1945 and marked by an increased role for the federal government in addressing the nation's economic and social problems. Work relief programs provided jobs, ambitious projects such as the
Tennessee Valley Authority The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federally-owned electric utility corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a l ...
were created to promote economic development and a
social security Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and ...
system was established. The Roosevelt administration was assisted in its endeavors by progressives in Congress, with the congressional midterm elections of 1934 returning a more radical House of Representatives that was prepared to support progressive, new liberal measures. As noted by J. Richard Piper:
As the "new" liberalism crystallized into its dominant form by 1935, both houses of Congress continued to provide large voting majorities for public policies that were generally dubbed "liberal". Conservatives constituted a distinct congressional minority from 1933 to 1937 and appeared threatened with oblivion for a time.
As noted by one source, a liberal Congress existed for much of Roosevelt's presidency: "We recognize that the best liberal legislature in American history was enacted following the election of President Roosevelt and a liberal Congress in 1932. After the mid - term congressional election setbacks in 1938, labor was faced with a hostile congress until 1946. Only the presidential veto prevented the enactment of reactionary anti-labor laws." The Great Depression seemed over in 1936, but a relapse in 1937–1938 produced continued long-term unemployment. Full employment was reached with the total mobilization of the United States economic, social and military resources in World War II. At that point, the main relief programs such as the WPA and the CCC were ended. Arthur Herman argues that Roosevelt restored prosperity after 1940 by cooperating closely with big business, although when asked "Do you think the attitude of the Roosevelt administration toward business is delaying business recovery?", the American people in 1939 responded "yes" by a margin of more than 2-to-1. The New Deal programs to relieve the Great Depression are generally regarded as a mixed success in ending unemployment. At the time, many New Deal programs, especially the CCC, were popular. Liberals hailed them for improving the life of the common citizen and for providing jobs for the unemployed, legal protection for labor unionists, modern utilities for rural America, living wages for the working poor and price stability for the family farmer. Economic progress for minorities, however, was hindered by discrimination, an issue often avoided by Roosevelt's administration.


Relief, recovery and reform

The New Deal consisted of three types of programs designed to produce relief, recovery and reform: * Relief was the immediate effort to help the one-third of the population that was hardest hit by the depression. Roosevelt expanded
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Herbert Hoover
's
Federal Emergency Relief Administration The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) was a program established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, building on the Hoover administration's Emergency Relief and Construction Act. It was replaced in 1935 by the Works Progress Admin ...
(FERA) work relief program and added the
Civilian Conservation Corps The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a voluntary public work relief program Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is persons above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid em ...

Civilian Conservation Corps
(CCC), the
Public Works Administration Public Works Administration (''PWA''), part of the New Deal of 1933, was a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by United States Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was cre ...
(PWA) and starting in 1935 the
Works Progress Administration The Works Progress Administration (WPA; renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) was an American New Deal agency, employing millions of jobseekers (mostly men who were not formally educated) to carry out public works projects, includ ...
(WPA). Also in 1935, the
Social Security Act The Social Security Act of 1935 is a law enacted by the 74th United States Congress and signed into law by US President The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of Ameri ...

Social Security Act
(SSA) and
unemployment insurance Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment insurance, unemployment payment, unemployment compensation, or simply unemployment, are payments made by authorized bodies to unemployed Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Ec ...

unemployment insurance
programs were added. Separate programs such as the
Resettlement Administration The Resettlement Administration (RA) was a New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States The United States of ...
and the
Farm Security Administration The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was a New Deal agency created in 1937 to combat rural poverty during the Great Depression in the United States File:Lange-MigrantMother02.jpg, Dorothea Lange's 1936 photo ''Migrant Mother'' is one of the mos ...
were set up for relief in rural America. * Recovery was the goal of restoring the economy to pre-Depression levels. It involved greater spending of government funds in an effort to stimulate the economy, including deficit spending, dropping the
gold standard A gold standard is a monetary system A monetary system is a system by which a government provides money in a country's economy. Modern monetary systems usually consist of the national treasury, the mint (facility), mint, central bank, the cen ...
and efforts to increase farm prices and foreign trade by lowering tariffs. Many programs were funded through a Hoover program of loans and loan guarantees, overseen by the
Reconstruction Finance Corporation The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was a State-owned enterprise, government corporation administered by the United States Federal Government between 1932 and 1957 that provided financial support to state and local governments and made loans to b ...
(RFC). * Reform was based on the assumption that the depression was caused by the inherent instability of the market and that government intervention was necessary to rationalize and stabilize the economy and to balance the interests of farmers, businesses and labor. Reform measures included the
National Industrial Recovery Act The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) was a US labor law and consumer law Consumer protection is the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the marketplace. Consumer pro ...
(NIRA), regulation of
Wall Street Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District This is a list of financial districts in cities around the world. Background A financial district is usually a central area in a city where financial services firms suc ...

Wall Street
by the
Securities Exchange Act The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (also called the Exchange Act, '34 Act, or 1934 Act) (, codified at et seq.) is a law governing the secondary market, secondary trading of securities (stocks, Bond (finance), bonds, and debentures) in the Unite ...
(SEA), the
Agricultural Adjustment Act The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) was a United States federal law of the New Deal era designed to boost agricultural prices by reducing surpluses. The government bought livestock for slaughter and paid farmers Subsidy, subsidies not to plant o ...
(AAA) for farm programs, the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is one of two agencies that supply deposit insurance Deposit insurance or deposit protection is a measure implemented in many countries to protect bank depositors, in full or in part, from losse ...
(FDIC) insurance for bank deposits enacted through the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 and the 1935
National Labor Relations Act The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (also known as the Wagner Act) is a foundational statute of that guarantees the right of private sector employees to organize into s, engage in , and take such as s. Central to the act was a ban on s. Th ...

National Labor Relations Act
(NLRA), also known as the Wagner Act, dealing with labor-management relations. Despite urgings by some New Dealers, there was no major antitrust program. Roosevelt opposed socialism in the sense of state ownership of the means of production and only one major program, namely the
Tennessee Valley Authority The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federally-owned electric utility corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a l ...
(TVA), involved government ownership of the means of production (that is power plants and electrical grids). The conservatives feared the New Deal meant socialism and Roosevelt noted privately in 1934 that the "old line press harps increasingly on state socialism and demands the return to the good old days".


Race

The New Deal was racially segregated as blacks and whites rarely worked alongside each other in New Deal programs. The largest relief program by far was the WPA which operated segregated units as did its youth affiliate the NYA. Blacks were hired by the WPA as supervisors in the North. Of 10,000 WPA supervisors in the South, only 11 were black. In the first few weeks of operation, CCC camps in the North were integrated. By July 1935, all the camps in the United States were segregated and blacks were strictly limited in the supervisory roles they were assigned. Kinker and Smith argue that "even the most prominent racial liberals in the New Deal did not dare to criticize Jim Crow". Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes was one of the Roosevelt administration's most prominent supporters of blacks and was former president of the Chicago chapter of the NAACP. When Senator , Democrat of North Carolina, accused him in 1937 of trying to break down segregation laws, Ickes wrote him to deny it:
I think it is up to the states to work out their social problems if possible, and while I have always been interested in seeing that the Negro has a square deal, I have never dissipated my strength against the particular stone wall of segregation. I believe that wall will crumble when the Negro has brought himself to a high educational and economic status. ..Moreover, while there are no segregation laws in the North, there is segregation in fact and we might as well recognize this.
The New Deal's record came under attack by
New Left The New Left was a broad political movement mainly in the 1960s and 1970s consisting of activists in the Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consisti ...
historians in the 1960s for its pusillanimity in not attacking capitalism more vigorously, nor helping blacks achieve equality. The critics emphasize the absence of a philosophy of reform to explain the failure of New Dealers to attack fundamental social problems. They demonstrate the New Deal's commitment to save capitalism and its refusal to strip away private property. They detect a remoteness from the people and indifference to participatory democracy and call instead for more emphasis on conflict and exploitation.


Foreign policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt

In international affairs, Roosevelt's presidency until 1938 reflected the isolationism that dominated practically all of American politics at the time. After 1938, he moved toward interventionism as the world hurtled toward war. Liberals split on foreign policy as many followed Roosevelt while others such as
John L. Lewis John Llewellyn Lewis (February 12, 1880 – June 11, 1969) was an American leader of Labor unions in the United States, organized labor who served as president of the United Mine Workers, United Mine Workers of America (UMW) from 1920 to 1960. A ma ...
of the
Congress of Industrial Organizations The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) was a federation of that organized workers in in the and from 1935 to 1955. Created in 1935 by , who was a part of the (UMW), it was originally called the Committee for Industrial Organization ...
, historian Charles A. Beard and the
Kennedy Family The Kennedy family is an American political family Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...
opposed him. However, Roosevelt added new conservative supporters such as Republicans
Henry Stimson Henry Lewis Stimson (September 21, 1867 – October 20, 1950) was an American statesman, lawyer, and Republican Party politician. Over his long career, he emerged as a leading figure in U.S. foreign policy by serving in both Republican and ...
(who became his Secretary of War in 1940) and
Wendell Willkie Wendell Lewis Willkie (born Lewis Wendell Willkie; February 18, 1892 – October 8, 1944) was an American lawyer, corporate executive, and the 1940 History of the United States Republican Party, Republican nominee for President of the United State ...

Wendell Willkie
(who worked closely with Roosevelt after losing to him in the 1940s election). Anticipating the post-war period, Roosevelt strongly supported proposals to create a
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
organization as a means of encouraging mutual cooperation to solve problems on the international stage. His commitment to internationalist ideals was in the tradition of
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
, except that Roosevelt learned from Wilson's mistakes regarding the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
. For instance, Roosevelt included Republicans in shaping foreign policy and insisted the United States have a veto at the United Nations.


Liberalism during the Cold War

American liberalism of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
era was the immediate heir to
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
's
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
and the somewhat more distant heir to the
progressives Progressivism is a political philosophy in support of social reform. Based on the idea of progress in which advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition, ...
of the early 20th century. Rossinow (2008) argues that after 1945 the left-liberal alliance that operated during the New Deal years split apart for good over the issue of Communism. Anti-Communist liberals led by
Walter Reuther Walter Philip Reuther (; September 1, 1907 – May 9, 1970) was an American leader of Labor unions in the United States, organized labor and Civil rights movements, civil rights activist who built the United Automobile Workers (UAW) into one of ...
and
Hubert Humphrey Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978) was an American pharmacist and politician who served as the 38th vice president of the United States from 1965 to 1969. He twice served in the United States Senate, representing Mi ...
expelled the far-left from labor unions and the
New Deal coalition#REDIRECT New Deal coalition The New Deal Coalition was an American political coalition that supported the Democratic Party from 1932 until the late 1960s. The coalition is named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs and was c ...
and committed the Democratic Party to a strong Cold War policy typified by
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
and the containment of Communism. Liberals became committed to a quantitative goal of economic growth that accepted large near-monopolies such as
General Motors General Motors Company (GM) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinat ...

General Motors
and
AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a ...
while rejecting the structural transformation dreamed of by earlier left-liberals. The far-left had its last hurrah in 's 1948 third-party presidential campaign. Wallace supported further New Deal reforms and opposed the Cold War, but his campaign was taken over by the far-left and Wallace retired from politics in disgust.Rossinow (2008); Hamby (1992) Most prominent and constant among the positions of Cold War liberalism were the following: * Support for a domestic economy built on a balance of power between labor (in the form of organized unions) and management (with a tendency to be more interested in large corporations than in
small business Small businesses are privately owned corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and pu ...
). * A foreign policy focused on containing the Soviet Union and its allies. * The continuation and expansion of New Deal social welfare programs (in the broad sense of welfare, including programs such as
Social Security Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and ...
). * An embrace of
Keynesian economics Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, ( ; 5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946) was an English economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the t ...
. By way of compromise with political groupings to their right, this often became in practice military Keynesianism. In some ways, this resembled what in other countries was referred to as
social democracy Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between indivi ...
. However, American liberals never widely endorsed
nationalization Nationalization (or nationalisation) is the process of transforming privately-owned asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communic ...
of industry like European social democrats, instead favoring regulation for public benefit. In the 1950s and 1960s, both major American political parties included liberal and conservative factions. The
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
included the Northern and Western liberals on one hand and the generally conservative Southern whites on the other. Difficult to classify were the Northern big city Democratic
political machine In the politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the ...
s. The urban machines had supported New Deal economic policies, but they faded with the coming of prosperity and the assimilation of ethnic groups. Nearly all collapsed by the 1960s in the face of racial violence in the cities The
Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about polit ...
included the moderate-to-liberal
Wall Street Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District This is a list of financial districts in cities around the world. Background A financial district is usually a central area in a city where financial services firms suc ...

Wall Street
and the moderate-to-conservative
Main Street Main Street is a metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. Etymology The words ''metonymy'' and ''metonym'' come from the Greek ...

Main Street
. The more liberal wing, strongest in the Northeast, was far more supportive of New Deal programs, labor unions and an internationalist foreign policy. Support for anti-Communism sometimes came at the expense of
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgat ...
. For example, ADA co-founder and archetypal Cold War liberal
Hubert Humphrey Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978) was an American pharmacist and politician who served as the 38th vice president of the United States from 1965 to 1969. He twice served in the United States Senate, representing Mi ...
unsuccessfully sponsored in 1950 a Senate bill to establish detention centers where those declared subversive by the President could be held without trial. Nonetheless, liberals opposed
McCarthyism McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion Subversion (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken ...
and were central to McCarthy's downfall. In domestic policy during the
Fifth Party System The Fifth Party System is the era of American national politics that began with the New Deal in 1932 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This era of Democratic Party-dominance emerged from the realignment of the voting blocA voting bloc is a ...
(1932–1966), liberals seldom had full control of government, but conservatives never had full control in that period either. According to Jonathan Bernstein, neither liberals nor Democrats controlled the House of Representatives very often from 1939 through 1957, although a 1958 landslide gave liberals real majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time in twenty years. However, Rules Committee reforms and others were carried out following this landslide as liberals saw that House procedures "still prevented them from using that majority". The conservative coalition was also important (if not dominant) from 1967 through 1974, although Congress had a liberal Democratic majority from 1985 to 1994. As also noted by Bernstein, "there have only been a handful of years (Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term, 1961-1966, Jimmy Carter's presidency, and the first two years of Clinton's and Barack Obama's presidencies) when there were clear, working liberal majorities in the House, the Senate and the White House".


Harry S. Truman's Fair Deal

Until he became president, liberals generally did not see
Harry S. Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the ...

Harry S. Truman
as one of their own, viewing him as a Democratic Party hack. However, liberal politicians and liberal organizations such as the unions and
Americans for Democratic Action Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) is a liberal American political organization advocating progressive policies. ADA works for social and economic justice through lobbying, grassroots organizing, research, and supporting progressive candidate ...
(ADA) supported Truman's liberal
Fair Deal The Fair Deal was an ambitious set of proposals put forward by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to Congress in his January 1949 State of the Union address The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message deliv ...
proposals to continue and expand the New Deal.
Alonzo Hamby Alonzo L. Hamby (born January 30, 1940) is an American historian and academic. He is distinguished professor of history emeritus at Ohio University Ohio University (often referred to as OHIO, OU, or historically, The Ohio University) is a publi ...
argues that the Fair Deal reflected the vital center approach to liberalism which rejected totalitarianism, was suspicious of excessive concentrations of government power, and honored the New Deal as an effort to achieve a progressive capitalist system. Solidly based upon the New Deal tradition in its advocacy of wide-ranging social legislation, the Fair Deal differed enough to claim a separate identity. The depression did not return after the war and the Fair Deal faced prosperity and an optimistic future. The Fair Dealers thought in terms of abundance rather than depression scarcity. Economist
Leon Keyserling Leon Hirsch Keyserling (January 11, 1908 – August 9, 1987) was an American economist and lawyer. During his career he helped draft major pieces of Fair Deal The Fair Deal was an ambitious set of proposals put forward by U.S. President Harry S. ...
argued that the liberal task was to spread the benefits of abundance throughout society by stimulating economic growth. Agriculture Secretary wanted to unleash the benefits of agricultural abundance and to encourage the development of an urban-rural Democratic coalition. However, the "Brannan Plan" was defeated by his unrealistic confidence in the possibility of uniting urban labor and farm owners who distrusted rural insurgency. The
conservative coalition The Conservative Coalition was an unofficial Congressional coalition founded in 1937, which brought together the conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. ...
of Northern Republicans and Southern Democrats in Congress effectively blocked the Fair Deal and nearly all liberal legislation from the late 1930s to 1960. The
Korean War The Korean War (see § Names) was a war fought between North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It b ...

Korean War
made military spending the nation's priority. In the 1960s, Stanford University historian Barton Bernstein repudiated Truman for failing to carry forward the New Deal agenda and for excessive anti-Communism at home.


1950s

Combating conservatism was not high on the liberal agenda, for the liberal ideology was so intellectually dominant by 1950 that the literary critic
Lionel Trilling Lionel Mordecai Trilling (July 4, 1905 – November 5, 1975) was an American literary critic, short story writer, essayist, and teacher. He was one of the leading U.S. critics of the 20th century who analyzed the contemporary cultural, social, a ...
could note that "liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition .. ere are no conservative or reactionary ideas in circulation". Most historians see liberalism in the doldrums in the 1950s, with the old spark of New Deal dreams overshadowed by the glitzy complacency and conservatism of the Eisenhower years.
Adlai Stevenson II Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (; February 5, 1900 – July 14, 1965) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. Raised in Bloomington, Illinois Bloomington is a city in and the county seat of McLean County, Illinois, McLean County, Illinois, ...
lost in two landslides and presented few new liberal proposals apart from a suggestion for a worldwide ban on nuclear tests. As Barry Karl noted, Stevenson "has suffered more at hands of the admirers he failed than he ever did from the enemies who defeated him". Many liberals bemoan the willingness of Democratic leaders
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
and
Sam Rayburn Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn (January 6, 1882 – November 16, 1961) was an American politician who served as the 43rd speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was a three-time House speaker, former House majority leader, two-time ...

Sam Rayburn
to collaborate in Congress with Eisenhower and the commitment of the AFL–CIO unions and most liberal spokesmen such as Senators
Hubert Humphrey Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978) was an American pharmacist and politician who served as the 38th vice president of the United States from 1965 to 1969. He twice served in the United States Senate, representing Mi ...
and
Paul Douglas Paul Howard Douglas (March 26, 1892 – September 24, 1976) was an American politician and Georgist Georgism, also called in modern times geoism and known historically as the single tax movement, is an economic ideology holding that, although ...
to anti-Communism at home and abroad. They decry the weak attention most liberals paid to the nascent
civil rights movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North ...
.


Liberal coalition

Politically, starting in the late 1940s there was a powerful labor–liberal coalition with strong grassroots support, energetic well-funded organizations and a cadre of supporters in Congress. On labor side was the
American Federation of Labor The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a national federation of labor unions in the United States Labor unions in the United States are organizations that represent workers in many industries recognized under US labor law since the 1935 en ...
(AFL) and the
Congress of Industrial Organizations The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) was a federation of that organized workers in in the and from 1935 to 1955. Created in 1935 by , who was a part of the (UMW), it was originally called the Committee for Industrial Organization ...
(CIO) which merged into the
AFL–CIO The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) is the largest federation of Labor unions in the United States, unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-five national and international unions, toge ...
in 1955, the
United Auto Workers The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, better known as the United Auto Workers (UAW), is an American labor union A trade union (or a labor union in American English), often simpl ...
(UAW), union lobbyists and the Committee on Political Education (COPE) which organized turnout campaigns and publicity at elections.
Walter Reuther Walter Philip Reuther (; September 1, 1907 – May 9, 1970) was an American leader of Labor unions in the United States, organized labor and Civil rights movements, civil rights activist who built the United Automobile Workers (UAW) into one of ...
of the UAW was the leader of liberalism in the labor movement and his autoworkers generously funded the cause. The main liberal organizations included the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through ...
(NAACP), the
American Jewish Congress The American Jewish Congress (AJCongress or AJC) is an association of American Jews organized to defend Jewish interests at home and abroad through public policy advocacy, using diplomacy, legislation, and the courts. History The American Jewis ...
(AJC), the
American Civil Liberties Union The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for ...
(ACLU), the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC) and the
Americans for Democratic Action Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) is a liberal American political organization advocating progressive policies. ADA works for social and economic justice through lobbying, grassroots organizing, research, and supporting progressive candidate ...
(ADA). Key liberal leaders in Congress included
Hubert Humphrey Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978) was an American pharmacist and politician who served as the 38th vice president of the United States from 1965 to 1969. He twice served in the United States Senate, representing Mi ...
of Minnesota,
Paul Douglas Paul Howard Douglas (March 26, 1892 – September 24, 1976) was an American politician and Georgist Georgism, also called in modern times geoism and known historically as the single tax movement, is an economic ideology holding that, although ...
of Illinois, Henry M. Jackson, Henry Jackson of Washington, Walter Mondale of Minnesota and Claude Pepper of Florida in the Senate Leaders in the House included Representatives Frank Thompson of New Jersey, Richard Bolling of Missouri and other members of the Democratic Study Group. Although for years they had largely been frustrated by the conservative coalition, the liberal coalition suddenly came to power in 1963 and were ready with proposals that became central to the Great Society. Humphrey's liberal legacy is bolstered by his early leadership in civil rights, and undermined by his long support of the Vietnam War. His biographer Arnold Offner says he was, "the most successful legislator in the nation’s history and a powerful voice for equal justice for all." Offner states that Humphrey was:
A major force for nearly every important liberal policy initiative....putting civil rights on his party’s and the nation’s agenda [in 1948] for decades to come. As senator he proposed legislation to effect national health insurance, for aid to poor nations, immigration and income tax reform, a Job Corps, the Peace Corps, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the path breaking 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty....[He provided] masterful stewardship of the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act through the Senate.


Intellectuals

Intellectuals and writers were an important component of the coalition at this point. Many writers, especially historians, became prominent spokesmen for liberalism and were frequently called upon for public lectures and for popular essays on political topics by magazines such as ''The New Republic,'' ''Saturday Review,'' ''The Atlantic Monthly'' and ''Harpers.'' Also active in the arena of ideas were literary critics such as
Lionel Trilling Lionel Mordecai Trilling (July 4, 1905 – November 5, 1975) was an American literary critic, short story writer, essayist, and teacher. He was one of the leading U.S. critics of the 20th century who analyzed the contemporary cultural, social, a ...
and Alfred Kazin, economists such as Alvin Hansen, John Kenneth Galbraith, James Tobin and Paul Samuelson as well as political scientists such as Robert A. Dahl and Seymour Martin Lipset and sociologists such as David Riesman and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Representative was the historian Henry Steele Commager, who felt a duty to teach his fellow citizens how liberalism was the foundation of American values. He believed that an educated public that understands American history would support liberal programs, especially internationalism and the New Deal. Commager was representative of a whole generation of like-minded historians who were widely read by the general public, including Allan Nevins, Daniel Boorstin, Richard Hofstadter and C. Vann Woodward. Perhaps the most prominent of all was Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., whose books on Andrew Jackson and on Roosevelt and the Kennedy brothers as well as his many essays and his work with liberal organizations and in the White House itself under Kennedy emphasized the ideological history of American liberalism, especially as made concrete by a long tradition of powerful liberal Presidents. Commager's biographer Neil Jumonville has argued that this style of influential public history has been lost in the 21st century because political correctness has rejected Commager's open marketplace of tough ideas. Jumonville says history now comprises abstruse deconstruction by experts, with statistics instead of stories and is now comprehensible only to the initiated while ethnocentrism rules in place of common identity. Other experts have traced the relative decline of intellectuals to their concern race, ethnicity and gender and scholarly antiquarianism.


Great Society: 1964–1968

The climax of liberalism came in the mid-1960s with the success of President
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
(1963–1969) in securing congressional passage of his
Great Society The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States launched by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. It was coined during a 1964 speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson at Ohio University Ohio University (often ...
programs, including civil rights, the end of segregation, Medicare, extension of welfare, federal aid to education at all levels, subsidies for the arts and humanities, environmental activism and a series of programs designed to wipe out poverty. According to historian Joseph Crespino:
It has become a staple of twentieth-century historiography that Cold War concerns were at the root of a number of progressive political accomplishments in the postwar period: a high progressive marginal tax rate that helped fund the arms race and contributed to broad income equality; bipartisan support for far-reaching civil rights legislation that transformed politics and society in the American South, which had long given the lie to America’s egalitarian ethos; bipartisan support for overturning an explicitly racist immigration system that had been in place since the 1920s; and free health care for the elderly and the poor, a partial fulfillment of one of the unaccomplished goals of the New Deal era. The list could go on.
As recent historians have explained:
Gradually, liberal intellectuals crafted a new vision for achieving economic and social justice. The liberalism of the early 1960s contained no hint of radicalism, little disposition to revive new deal era crusades against concentrated economic power, and no intention to fan class passions or redistribute wealth or restructure existing institutions. Internationally it was strongly anti-Communist. It aimed to defend the free world, to encourage economic growth at home, and to ensure that the resulting plenty was fairly distributed. Their agenda-much influenced by Keynesian economic theory-envisioned massive public expenditure that would speed economic growth, thus providing the public resources to fund larger welfare, housing, health, and educational programs.
Johnson was rewarded with an electoral landslide in 1964 against conservative
Barry Goldwater Barry Morris Goldwater (January 2, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was an American politician, statesman, businessman, United States Air Force officer, and author who was a five-term United States Senate, Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–19 ...

Barry Goldwater
which broke the decades-long control of Congress by the
conservative coalition The Conservative Coalition was an unofficial Congressional coalition founded in 1937, which brought together the conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. ...
. However, the Republicans bounced back in 1966 and as the Democratic Party splintered five ways Republicans elected Richard Nixon in 1968. Faced with a generally liberal Democratic Congress during his presidency,Ballard C. Campbell
''Disasters, Accidents, and Crises in American History: A Reference Guide to the Nation's Most Catastrophic Events''
Infobase Publishing, 2008. Page 349. Retrieved on July 15, 2013.
Nixon used his power over executive agencies to obstruct the authorization of programs that he was opposed to. As noted by one observer, Nixon "claimed the authority to 'impound,' or withhold, money Congress appropriated to support them". Nevertheless, Nixon largely continued the New Deal and Great Society programs he inherited. Conservative reaction would come with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.


Liberals and civil rights

Cold War liberalism emerged at a time when most African-Americans, especially in Southern United States, the South, were politically and economically disenfranchised. Beginning with ''To Secure These Rights'', an official report issued by the Truman White House in 1947, self-proclaimed liberals increasingly embraced the civil rights movement. In 1948, President Truman desegregated the armed forces and the Democrats inserted a strong civil rights plank or provision in the Democratic Party platform. Black activists, most prominently Martin Luther King Jr., escalated the bearer agitation throughout the South, especially in Birmingham, Alabama during the 1963 Birmingham campaign, where brutal police tactics outraged national television audiences. The civil rights movement climaxed in the March on Washington in August 1963, where King gave his dramatic "I Have a Dream" speech, culminating in the events of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. The activism put civil rights at the very top of the liberal political agenda and facilitated passage of the decisive Civil Rights Act of 1964 which permanently ended segregation in the United States and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which guaranteed blacks the right to vote, with strong enforcement provisions throughout the South handled by the federal Department of Justice.Harvard Sitkoff, ''The Struggle for Black Equality'' (2nd ed. Hill and Wang, 2008), pp 152–53 During the mid-1960s, relations between white liberals and the civil rights movement became increasingly strained as civil rights leaders accused liberal politicians of temporizing and procrastinating. Although President Kennedy sent federal troops to compel the University of Mississippi to admit African-American James Meredith in 1962 and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. toned down the 1963 March on Washington at Kennedy's behest, the failure to seat the Delegate (American politics), delegates of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention indicated a growing rift. President Johnson could not understand why the rather impressive civil rights laws passed under his leadership had failed to immunize Northern and Western cities from rioting. At the same time, the civil rights movement itself was becoming fractured. By 1966, a Black Power movement had emerged. Black Power advocates accused white liberals of trying to control the civil rights agenda. Proponents of Black Power wanted African-Americans to follow an ethnic model for obtaining power, not unlike that of Democratic political machines in large cities. This put them on a collision course with urban machine politicians. On its most extreme edges, the Black Power movement contained racial separatists who wanted to give up on integration altogether—a program that could not be endorsed by American liberals of any race. The mere existence of such individuals (who always got more media attention than their actual numbers might have warranted) contributed to white backlash against liberals and civil rights activists. Liberals were latecomers to the movement for equal rights for women. Generally, they agreed with Eleanor Roosevelt that women needed special protections, especially regarding hours of work, night work and physically heavy work. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) had first been proposed in the 1920s by Alice Paul and appealed primarily to middle-class career women. At the Democratic National Convention in 1960, a proposal to endorse the ERA was rejected after it met explicit opposition from liberal groups including labor unions, AFL–CIO, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), American Federation of Teachers, American Nurses Association, the Women's Division of the Methodist Church and the National Councils of Jewish, Catholic, and Negro Women.


Neoconservatives

Some liberals moved to the right and became Neoconservatism, neoconservatives in the 1970s. Many were animated by foreign policy, taking a strong anti-Soviet and pro-Israel position as typified by ''Commentary (magazine), Commentary'', a Jewish magazine. Many had been supporters of Senator Henry M. Jackson, who was noted for his strong positions in favor of labor and against Communism. Many neoconservatives joined the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and attacked liberalism vocally in both the popular media and scholarly publications.


Under attack from the New Left

Liberalism came under attack from both the New Left in the early 1960s and the right in the late 1960s. Kazin (1998) says: "The liberals who anxiously turned back the assault of the postwar Right were confronted in the 1960s by a very different adversary: a radical movement led, in the main, by their own children, the white "New Left". This new element, says Kazin, worked to "topple the corrupted liberal order". As Maurice Isserman notes, the New Left "came to use the word 'liberal' as a political epithet". Slack (2013) argues that the New Left was more broadly speaking the political component of a break with liberalism that took place across several academic fields, namely philosophy, psychology and sociology. In philosophy, existentialism and neo-Marxism rejected the instrumentalism of
John Dewey John Dewey (; October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Meta ...
; in psychology, Wilhelm Reich, Paul Goodman (writer), Paul Goodman, Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown rejected Sigmund Freud's teaching of repression and sublimation; and in sociology, C. Wright Mills rejected the pragmatism of Dewey for the teachings of Max Weber. The attack was not confined to the United States as the New Left was a worldwide movement with strength in parts of Western Europe as well as Japan. For example, massive demonstrations in France denounced American imperialism and its helpers in Western European governments. The main activity of the New Left became opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War as conducted by liberal President
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
. The anti-war movement escalated the rhetorical heat as violence broke out on both sides. The climax came in sustained protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Liberals fought back, with Zbigniew Brzezinski, chief foreign policy advisor of the 1968 Humphrey campaign, saying the New Left "threatened American liberalism" in a manner reminiscent of McCarthyism. While the New Left considered Humphrey a war criminal, Nixon attacked him as the New Left's enabler—a man with "a personal attitude of indulgence and permissiveness toward the lawless". Beinart concludes that "with the country divided against itself, contempt for Hubert Humphrey was the one thing on which left and right could agree". After 1968, the New Left lost strength and the more serious attacks on liberalism came from the right. Nevertheless, the liberal ideology lost its attractiveness. Liberal commentator E. J. Dionne contends: "If liberal ideology began to crumble intellectually in the 1960s it did so in part because the New Left represented a highly articulate and able wrecking crew".


Liberals and the Vietnam War

While the civil rights movement isolated liberals from their erstwhile allies, the Vietnam War threw a wedge into the liberal ranks, dividing pro-war War hawk, hawks such as Senator Henry M. Jackson from War dove, doves such as 1972 presidential candidate Senator George McGovern. As the war became the leading political issue of the day, agreement on domestic matters was not enough to hold the liberal consensus together. In the 1960 United States presidential election, 1960 presidential campaign,
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
was liberal in domestic policy, but conservative on foreign policy, calling for a more aggressive stance against Communism than his opponent Richard Nixon. Opposition to the war first emerged from the New Left and from black leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. By 1967, there was growing opposition from within liberal ranks, led in 1968 by Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy. After Democratic President Lyndon Johnson announced in March 1968 that he would not run for re-election, Kennedy and McCarthy fought each other for the nomination, with Kennedy besting McCarthy in a series of Democratic primaries. The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, assassination of Kennedy removed him from the race and Vice President
Hubert Humphrey Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978) was an American pharmacist and politician who served as the 38th vice president of the United States from 1965 to 1969. He twice served in the United States Senate, representing Mi ...
emerged from the disastrous 1968 Democratic National Convention with the presidential nomination of a deeply divided party. Meanwhile, Alabama Governor George Wallace announced his third-party run and pulled in many working-class whites in the rural South and big-city North, most of whom had been staunch Democrats. Liberals led by the labor unions focused their attacks on Wallace while Nixon led a unified Republican Party to victory.


Richard Nixon

The 1968 United States presidential election, chaos of 1968, a bitterly divided Democratic Party and bad blood between the New Left and the liberals gave Nixon the presidency. Nixon rhetorically attacked liberals, but in practice enacted many liberal policies and represented the more liberal wing of the Republican Party. Nixon established the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Protection Agency by executive order, expanded the national endowments for the arts and the humanities, began affirmative action policies, opened diplomatic relations with People's Republic of China, Communist China, starting the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks to reduce ballistic missile availability and turned the war over to South Vietnam. He withdrew all American combat troops by 1972, signed a peace treaty in 1973 and ended the draft. Regardless of his policies, liberals hated Nixon and rejoiced when the Watergate scandal forced his resignation in 1974. While the differences between Nixon and the liberals are obvious—the liberal wing of his own party favored politicians such as
Nelson Rockefeller Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979), sometimes referred to by his nickname, Rocky, was an American businessman and politician who served as the 41st vice president of the United States The vice president of the ...

Nelson Rockefeller
and
William Scranton William Warren Scranton (July 19, 1917 – July 28, 2013) was an American Republican Party (United States), Republican Party politician and diplomat. Scranton served as the List of governors of Pennsylvania, 38th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1963 ...

William Scranton
and Nixon overtly placed an emphasis on law and order over civil liberties, with Nixon's Enemies List being composed largely of liberals—in some ways the continuity of many of Nixon's policies with those of the Kennedy–Johnson years is more remarkable than the differences. Pointing at this continuity, New Left leader Noam Chomsky (himself on Master list of Nixon's political opponents, Nixon's enemies list) has called Nixon "in many respects the last liberal president". The political dominance of the liberal consensus even into the Nixon years can best be seen in policies such as the successful establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency or his failed proposal to replace the welfare system with a guaranteed annual income by way of a negative income tax. Affirmative action in its most quota-oriented form was a Nixon administration policy. The Nixon War on Drugs allocated two-thirds of its funds for treatment, a far higher ratio than was to be the case under any subsequent President, Republican or Democrat. Additionally, Nixon's normalization of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and his policy of ''détente'' with the Soviet Union were probably more popular with liberals than with his conservative base. An opposing view offered by Cass R. Sunstein in ''The Second Bill of Rights'' (Basic Books, 2004, ) argues that through his Supreme Court of the United States, Supreme Court appointments Nixon effectively ended a decades-long expansion of economic rights along the lines of those put forward in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly.


Labor unions

Labor unions were central components of liberalism, operating through the
New Deal coalition#REDIRECT New Deal coalition The New Deal Coalition was an American political coalition that supported the Democratic Party from 1932 until the late 1960s. The coalition is named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs and was c ...
. The unions gave strong support to the Vietnam War, thereby breaking with the blacks and with the intellectual and student wings of liberalism. From time to time, dissident groups such as the Progressive Alliance, the Citizen-Labor Energy Coalition and the National Labor Committee broke from the dominant
AFL–CIO The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) is the largest federation of Labor unions in the United States, unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-five national and international unions, toge ...
which they saw as too conservative. In 1995, the liberals managed to take control of the AFL–CIO under the leadership of John Sweeney (labor leader), John Sweeney of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Union membership in the private sector has fallen from 33% to 7%, with a resulting decline in political weight. In 2005, the SEIU, now led by Andy Stern, broke away from the AFL–CIO to form its own coalition, the Change to Win Federation, to support liberalism, including Barack Obama's policies, especially health care reform. Stern retired in 2010. Regardless of the loss of numbers, unions have a long tradition and deep experience in organizing and continue at the state and national level to mobilize forces for liberal policies, especially regarding votes for liberal politicians, a graduated income tax, government spending on social programs, and support for unions. They also support the conservative position of protectionism. Offsetting the decline in the private sector is a growth of unionization in the public sector. The membership of unions in the public sector such as teachers, police and city workers continues to rise, now covering 42% of local government workers. The financial crisis that hit American states during the recession of 2008–2011 focused increasing attention on pension systems for government employees, with conservatives trying to reduce the pensions.


Environmentalism

A new unexpected political discourse emerged in the 1970s centered on the environment. The debates did not fall neatly into a left–right dimension, for everyone proclaimed their support for the environment. Environmentalism appealed to the well-educated middle class, but it aroused fears among lumbermen, farmers, ranchers, blue collar workers, automobile companies and oil companies whose economic interests were threatened by new regulations. As a result, conservatives tended to oppose environmentalism while liberals endorsed new measures to protect the environment. Liberals supported the The Wilderness Society (United States), Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club and were sometimes successful in blocking efforts by lumber companies and oil drillers to expand operations. Environmental legislation limited the use of DDT, reduced acid rain and protected numerous animal and plant species. Within the environmental movement, there was a small radical element that favored direct action rather than legislation. By the 21st century, debates over taking major action to reverse global warming by and dealing with carbon emissions were high on the agenda. Unlike Europe, where green parties play a growing role in politics, the environmental movement in the United States has given little support to third parties.


End of the liberal consensus

During the Nixon years and through the 1970s, the liberal consensus began to come apart and the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan as president marked the election of the first non-Keynesian administration and the first application of supply-side economics. The alliance with white Southern Democrats had been lost in the Civil Rights era. While the steady enfranchisement of African-Americans expanded the electorate to include many new voters sympathetic to liberal views, it was not quite enough to make up for the loss of some Southern Democrats. A tide of conservatism rose in response to perceived failures of liberal policies.Krugman, Paul (2007). ''
The Conscience of a Liberal ''The Conscience of a Liberal'' is a 2007 book written by economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from ec ...
''. New York: W. W. Norton.
Organized labor, long a bulwark of the liberal consensus, was past the peak of its power in the United States and many unions had remained in favor of the Vietnam War even as liberal politicians increasingly turned against it. In 1980, the leading liberal was Senator Ted Kennedy, who challenged incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Party presidential nomination because Carter's failures had disenchanted liberals. Kennedy was decisively defeated, and in turn Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan. Historians often use 1979–1980 to date a philosophical realignment within the American electorate away from Democratic liberalism and toward Reagan Era conservatism. However, some liberals hold a minority view that there was no real shift and that Kennedy's defeat was merely by historical accident caused by his poor campaign, international crises and Carter's use of the incumbency. Abrams (2006) argues that the eclipse of liberalism was caused by a grass-roots populist revolt, often with a fundamentalist and anti-modern theme, abetted by corporations eager to weaken labor unions and the regulatory regime of the New Deal. The success of liberalism in the first place, he argues, came from efforts of a liberal elite that had entrenched itself in key social, political and especially judicial positions. These elites, Abrams contends, imposed their brand of liberalism from within some of the least democratic and most insulated institutions, especially the universities, foundations, independent regulatory agencies and the Supreme Court. With only a weak popular base, liberalism was vulnerable to a populist counter-revolution by the nation's democratic or majoritarian forces.


Bill Clinton administration and the Third Way

The term ''Third Way (centrism), Third Way'' represents various political positions which try to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right economic and left-leaning social policies. Third Way was created as a serious re-evaluation of political policies within various center-left progressive movements in response to the ramifications of the collapse of international belief in the economic viability of the state Economic interventionism, economic interventionist policies that had previously been popularized by Keynesianism and the corresponding rise of popularity for neoliberalism and the New Right. It supports the pursuit of greater egalitarianism in society through action to increase the distribution of skills, capacities, and productive endowments, while rejecting income redistribution as the means to achieve this. It emphasizes commitment to balanced budgets, providing equal opportunity combined with an emphasis on Moral responsibility, personal responsibility, decentralization of government power to the lowest level possible, encouragement of public-private partnerships, improving labour supply, labor supply, investment in Human development (humanity), human development, protection of social capital and protection of the environment. In the United States, Third Way adherents embrace fiscal conservatism to a greater extent than traditional social liberals and advocate some replacement of Welfare (financial aid), welfare with workfare and sometimes have a stronger preference for market solutions to traditional problems (as in pollution markets) while rejecting pure ''
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), d ...
'' economics and other Libertarianism in the United States, libertarian positions. The Third Way style of governing was firmly adopted and partly redefined during the presidency of Bill Clinton. With respect to Presidents, the term Third Way was introduced by political scientist Stephen Skowronek, who wrote ''The Politics Presidents Make'' (1993, 1997; ). Third Way Presidents "undermine the opposition by borrowing policies from it in an effort to seize the middle and with it to achieve political dominance. Think of Nixon's economic policies, which were a continuation of Johnson's "Great Society"; Clinton's welfare reform and support of capital punishment; and Obama's pragmatic centrism, reflected in his embrace, albeit very recent, of entitlements reform". After Tony Blair came to power in the United Kingdom, Clinton, Blair and other leading Third Way adherents organized conferences in 1997 to promote the Third Way philosophy at Chequers in England. In 2004, several veteran Democrats founded a new think tank in Washington, D.C. called Third Way (United States), Third Way which bills itself as a "strategy center for progressives". Along with the Third Way think tank, the Democratic Leadership Council are also adherents of Third Way politics. The Third Way has been heavily criticized by many social democrats as well as Anarchism, anarchists, Communism, communists, Socialism, socialists and democratic socialists in particular as a betrayal of left-wing values. The Democratic Leadership Council shut down in 2011. Commenting on the Democratic Leadership Council's waning influence, ''Politico'' characterized it as "the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years" that "had long been fading from its mid-'90s political relevance, tarred by the left as a symbol of 'triangulation' at a moment when there's little appetite for intra-party warfare on the center-right". Specific definitions of Third Way policies may differ between Europe and the United States.


Return of protest politics

Republican and staunch conservative George W. Bush won the 2000 United States presidential election, 2000 president election in a tightly contested race that included multiple 2000 United States presidential election in Florida, recounts in the state of Florida. The outcome was tied up in courts for a month until reaching the Supreme Court of the United States, Supreme Court. In the controversial ruling ''Bush v. Gore'' case on December 9, the Supreme Court reversed a Florida Supreme Court decision ordering a third recount, essentially ending the dispute and resulting in Bush winning the presidency by electoral vote, although he lost the popular vote to Democrat and incumbent Vice President Al Gore. Bush's policies were deeply unpopular amongst American liberals, particularly his launching of the Iraq War which led to the return of massive protest politics in the form of opposition to the War in Iraq. Bush's approval rating went below the 50% mark in AP-Ipsos polling in December 2004. Thereafter, his approval ratings and approval of his handling of domestic and foreign policy issues steadily dropped. Bush received heavy criticism for his handling of the Iraq War, his Political effects of Hurricane Katrina, response to Hurricane Katrina and to the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, NSA warrantless surveillance, the Plame affair and Guantanamo Bay detention camp controversies. Polls conducted in 2006 showed an average of 37% approval ratings for Bush which contributed to what Bush called the thumping of the Republican Party in the 2006 United States elections, 2006 midterm elections. When the financial system verged on total collapse during the 2008 financial crisis, Bush pushed through large-scale Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, rescue packages for banks and auto companies that some conservatives in Congress did not support and led some conservative commentators to criticize Bush for enacting legislation they saw as not conservative and more reminiscent of New Deal liberal ideology. In part due to backlash against the Bush administration, Barack Obama, seen by some as a liberal and progressive, was elected to the presidency in 2008, the first African-American to hold the office. With a clear Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress, Obama managed to pass a American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $814 billion stimulus spending program, Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, new regulations on investment firms and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a law to expand health insurance coverage. Led by the Tea Party movement, the Republicans won back control of one of the two Houses of Congress in the 2010 United States elections, 2010 midterm elections. In reaction to ongoing financial crisis that began in 2008, protest politics continued into the Obama administration, most notably in the form of Occupy Wall Street. The main issues are social and
economic inequality 270px, Global share of wealth by wealth group, Credit Suisse, 2021 There are wide varieties of economic inequality, most notably measured using the distribution of incomeIn economics Economics () is the social science that studies ho ...
, greed, corruption and the undue Regulatory capture, influence of corporations on government—particularly from the financial services sector. The Occupy Wall Street slogan "We are the 99%" addresses the growing income inequality in the United States, income inequality and wealth distribution in the United States between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. Although some of these were cited by liberal activists and Democrats, this information did not fully become a center of national attention until it was used as one of the ideas behind the movement itself. A survey by Fordham University Department of Political Science found the protester's political affiliations to be overwhelmingly left-leaning, with 25% Democrat, 2% Republican, 11% Socialist, 11% Green Party, 12% Other and 39% independent.Occupy Wall Street Survey Results October 2011
By Professor Costas Panagopoulos, Fordham University, October 2011
While the survey also found that 80% of the protestors self-identified as slightly to extremely liberal, Occupy Wall Street and the broader Occupy movement has been variously classified as a "liberation from liberalism" and even as having principles that "arise from scholarship on anarchy". During a news conference on October 6, 2011, President Obama said: "I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country ..and yet you're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place". Some of the protests were seen as an attempt to address the Obama administration's double standard in dealing with Wall Street. Obama was 2012 United States presidential election, re-elected President in November 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney and Second inauguration of Barack Obama, sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2013. During his second term, Obama promoted domestic policies related to gun control in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and called for full equality for LGBT community, LGBT Americans while his administration filed briefs which urged the United States Supreme Court, Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 and California's Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. The shooting of Michael Brown and death of Eric Garner led to widespread protests (particularly in 2014 Ferguson unrest, Ferguson, where Brown was shot) against perceived police militarization more generally and alleged police brutality against African-Americans more specifically.


Criticism

Since the 1970s, there has been a concerted effort from both the left and right to color the word liberal with negative connotations. As those efforts succeeded more and more, progressives and their opponents took advantage of the negative meaning to great effect. In the 1988 presidential campaign, Republican George H. W. Bush joked about his opponent's refusal to own up to the "L-word label". When Michael Dukakis finally did declare himself a liberal, the ''Boston Globe'' headlined the story "Dukakis Uses L-Word". Conservative activists since the 1970s have employed liberal as an epithet, giving it an ominous or sinister connotation while invoking phrases like "free enterprise", "individual rights", "patriotic" and "the American way" to describe opponents of liberalism. Historian John Lukacs noted in 2004 that then-President George W. Bush, confident that many Americans regarded liberal as a pejorative term, used it to label his political opponents during campaign speeches while his opponents subsequently avoided identifying themselves as liberal. During the presidency of Gerald Ford, First Lady Betty Ford became known for her candid and outspoken liberal views in regard to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA),
pro-choice Abortion-rights movements, also referred to as pro-choice movements, advocate for abortion law, legal access to induced abortion services including elective abortion. It is the argument against the anti-abortion movement. The Abortion rights movem ...
on abortion, feminism, Equal pay for equal work, equal pay, Drugs in the United States, decriminalization of certain drugs, gun control and civil rights. She was a vocal supporter and leader in the women's movement and Ford was also noted for bringing breast cancer awareness to national attention following her 1974 mastectomy. Her outspoken liberal views led to ridicule and opposition from the conservative wing of the Republican Party and by conservative activists who referred to Ford as "No Lady" and thought her actions were unbecoming of a First Lady in an increasingly conservative Republican Party. Ronald Reagan's ridicule of liberalism is credited with transforming the word liberal into a derogatory epithet that any politician seeking national office would avoid. His speechwriters repeatedly contrasted "liberals" and "real Americans". For example, Reagan's then-Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt said: "I never use the words Republicans and Democrats. It's liberals and Americans". Reagan warned the United States of modern secularists who condoned abortion, excused teenage sexuality, opposed school prayer and attenuated traditional American values. His conviction that there existed a single proper personal behavior, religious worldview, economic system and proper attitude toward nations and peoples not supporting American interests worldwide is credited by comparative literature scholar Betty Jean Craige with polarizing the United States. Reagan persuaded a large portion of the public to dismiss any sincere analyses of his administration's policies as politically motivated criticisms put forth by what he labeled a liberal media. When George H. W. Bush employed the word liberal as a derogatory epithet during his 1988 presidential campaign, he described himself as a patriot and described his liberal opponents as unpatriotic. Bush referred to liberalism as "the L-word" and sought to demonize opposing presidential candidate Michael Dukakis by labeling Dukakis "the liberal governor" and by pigeonholing him as part of what Bush called "the L-crowd". Bush recognized that motivating voters to fear Dukakis as a risky, non-mainstream candidate generated political support for his own campaign. Bush's campaign also used issues of prayer to arouse suspicions that Dukakis was less devout in his religious convictions. Bush's running mate, vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle, said to Christians at the 1988 Republican National Convention: "It's always good to be with people who are real Americans". Bill Clinton avoided association with liberal as a political label during his 1992 presidential campaign against Bush by moving closer to the Centrism, political center.


Reactions to shift

Liberal Republicans have voiced disappointment over conservative attacks on liberalism. One example is former governor of Minnesota and founder of the Liberal Republican Club Elmer L. Andersen, who commented that it is "unfortunate today that 'liberal' is used as a derogatory term". After the 1980s, fewer activists and politicians were willing to characterize themselves as liberals. Historian Kevin Boyle (historian), Kevin Boyle explains: "There was a time when liberalism was, in Arthur Schlesinger's words 'a fighting faith'. ..Over the last three decades, though, liberalism has become an object of ridicule, condemned for its misplaced idealism, vilified for its tendency to equivocate and compromise, and mocked for its embrace of political correctness. Now even the most ardent reformers run from the label, fearing the damage it will inflict". Republican political consultant Arthur J. Finkelstein was recognized by Democratic political consultants for having employed a formula of branding someone as a liberal and engaging in name-calling by using the word liberal in negative television commercials as frequently as possible such as in a 1996 ad against Representative Jack Reed (Rhode Island politician), Jack Reed: "That's liberal. That's Jack Reed. That's wrong. Call liberal Jack Reed and tell him his record on welfare is just too liberal for you". Democratic candidates and political liberals have sometimes shied away from the word liberal, in some cases identifying instead with terms such as progressive or moderate. George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney accused their opponents of liberal elitism, softness and pro-terrorism. Conservative political commentators such as Rush Limbaugh consistently used the word "liberal" as a pejorative label. When liberals shifted to the word "progressive" to describe their beliefs, conservative radio host Glenn Beck used "progressive" as an abusive label. Historian Godfrey Hodgson notes the following: "The word liberal itself has fallen into disrepute. Nothing is too bad for conservative bloggers and columnists—let alone radio hosts—to say about liberals. Democrats themselves run a mile from the 'L word' for fear of being seen as dangerously outside the mainstream. Conservative politicians and publicists, by dint of associating liberals with all manner of absurdity so that many sensible people hesitated to risk being tagged with the label of liberalism, succeeded in persuading the country that it was more conservative than it actually was".


Labels vs. beliefs

In 2008 liberal historian Eric Alterman claimed that barely 20% of Americans are willing to accept the word liberal as a political label, but that supermajorities of Americans actually favor liberal positions time and again. Alterman points out that resistance to the label liberal is not surprising due to billions of dollars poured into the denigration of the term. A 2004 poll conducted by the National Election Study found that only 35% of respondents questioned identifying as liberal compared to 55% identifying as conservative. A 2004 Pew poll found 19% of respondents identifying as liberal and 39% identifying as conservative, with the balance identifying as moderate. A 2006 poll found that 19% identified as liberal and 36% conservative. In 2005, self-identifying moderates polled by Harris Insights & Analytics, Louis Harris & Associates were found to share essentially the same political beliefs as self-identifying liberals but rejected the word liberal because of the vilification heaped on the word itself by conservatives. Alterman acknowledges political scientist Drew Westen's observation that for most Americans the word liberal now carries meanings such as "elite", "tax and spend" and "out of touch".


Philosophy


Free speech

American liberals describe themselves as open to change and receptive to new ideas. For example, liberals typically accept ideas that some others reject, such as evolution and catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. Liberals tend to oppose the Supreme Court's ''Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Citizens United'' ruling in 2010 that a corporation's First Amendment right to free speech encompasses freedom to make unlimited independent expenditures for any political party, politician or Lobbying, lobbyist as they see fit. President Obama called it "a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans".


Opposition to state socialism

In general, liberalism opposes socialism when it is understood to mean an alternative to capitalism based on state ownership of the means of production. American liberals usually doubt that bases for political opposition and freedom can survive when power is vested in the state as it was under Socialist state, state-socialist regimes. In line with the "general pragmatic, empirical basis" of liberalism, American liberal philosophy embraces the idea that if substantial abundance and equality of opportunity can be achieved through a system of Mixed economy, mixed ownership, then there is no need for a rigid and oppressive bureaucracy. Since the 1950s, some liberal public intellectuals have moved further toward the allegation that free markets can provide better solutions than top-down economic planning when appropriately regulated. Economist
Paul Krugman Paul Robin Krugman ( ; born February 28, 1953) is an American economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts f ...
argued that in hitherto-state-dominated functions such as nation-scale energy distribution and telecommunications marketizations can improve efficiency dramatically. He also defended a monetary policy—inflation targeting—saying that it "most nearly approaches the usual goal of modern stabilization policy, which is to provide adequate demand in a clean, unobtrusive way that does not distort the allocation of resources". These distortions are of a kind that war-time and postwar Keynesian economists had accepted as an inevitable byproduct of fiscal policies that selectively reduced certain consumer taxes and directed spending toward government-managed stimulus projects, even where these economists theorized at a contentious distance from some of Keynes's own, more hands-off, positions which tended to emphasize stimulating of business investment. Thomas Friedman is a liberal journalist who generally defends free trade as more likely to improve the lot of both rich and poor countries.


Role of the state

There is a fundamental split among liberals as to the role of the state. Historian H. W. Brands notes that "the growth of the state is, by perhaps the most common definition, the essence of modern American liberalism". According to Paul Starr, " beral constitutions impose constraints on the power of any single public official or branch of government as well as the state as a whole".


Morality

According to cognitive linguist George Lakoff, liberal philosophy is based on five basic categories of morality. The first, the promotion of fairness, is generally described as an emphasis on empathy as a desirable trait. With this social contract based on the Golden Rule comes the rationale for many liberal positions. The second category is assistance to those who cannot assist themselves. A nurturing, philanthropic spirit is one that is considered good in liberal philosophy. This leads to the third category, namely the desire to protect those who cannot defend themselves. The fourth category is the importance of fulfilling one's life, allowing a person to experience all that they can. The fifth and final category is the importance of caring for oneself since only thus can one act to help others.


Historiography

Liberalism increasingly shaped American intellectual life in the 1930s and 1940s, thanks in large part to two major two-volume studies that were widely read by academics, advanced students, intellectuals and the general public, namely Charles A. Beard and Mary Beard's ''The Rise of American Civilization'' (2 vol.; 1927) and Vernon L. Parrington's ''Main Currents in American Thought'' (2 vol.; 1927). The Beards exposed the material forces that shaped American history while Parrington focused on the material forces that shaped American literature. According to the Beards, virtually all political history involved the bitter conflict between the agrarians, farmers and workers led by the Jeffersonians and the capitalists led by the Hamiltonians. The Civil War marked a great triumph of the capitalists and comprised the Second American Revolution. Younger historians welcome the realistic approach that emphasized hardcore economic interest as a powerful force and downplayed the role of ideas. Parrington spoke to the crises at hand. According to historian Ralph Gabriel:
''Main Currents'' attempted to trace the history of liberalism in the American scene for citizens who were caught in a desperate predicament. It was an age in which American liberalism set the United States, through the New Deal, on a Democratic middle-of-the-road course between the contemporary extremisms of Europe, that of Communism on one hand, and of Fascism on the other. ..The style of ''Main Currents'' was powered by Parrington's dedication to the cause of humane liberalism, by his ultimate humanistic, democratic faith. He saw the democratic dreams of the romantic first half of the 19th century as the climax of an epic story toward which early Americans moved and from which later Americans fell away.
Liberal readers immediately realized where they stood in the battle between Jeffersonian democracy and Hamiltonian privilege. Neither the Beards nor Parrington paid any attention to slavery, race relations, or minorities. For example, the Beards "dismissed the agitations of the abolitionists as a small direct consequence because of their lack of appeal to the public". Princeton historian Eric F. Goldman helped define American liberalism for postwar generations of university students. The first edition of his most influential work appeared in 1952 with the publication of ''Rendezvous with Destiny: A History of Modern American Reform'', covering reform efforts from the Grant years to the 1950s. For decades, it was a staple of the undergraduate curriculum in history, highly regarded for its style and its exposition of modern American liberalism. According to Priscilla Roberts:
Lively, well-written, and highly readable, it provided an overview of eight decades of reformers, complete with arresting vignettes of numerous individuals, and stressed the continuities among successful American reform movements. Writing at the height of the Cold War, he also argued that the fundamental liberal tradition of the United States was moderate, centrist, and incrementalist, and decidedly non-socialist and non-totalitarian. While broadly sympathetic to the cause of American reform, Goldman was far from uncritical toward his subjects, faulting progressives of World War I for their lukewarm reception of the League of Nations, American reformers of the 1920s for their emphasis on freedom of lifestyles rather than economic reform, and those of the 1930s for overly tolerant attitude toward Soviet Russia. His views of past American reformers encapsulated the conventional, liberal, centrist orthodoxy of the early 1950s, from its support for anti-communism and international activism abroad and New Deal-style big government at home, to its condemnation of McCarthyism.
For the general public, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. was the most widely read historian, social critic and public intellectual. Schlesinger's work explored the history of Jacksonian era and especially 20th-century American liberalism. His major books focused on leaders such as Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. He was a White House aide to Kennedy and his ''A Thousand Days, A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House'' won the 1966 Pulitzer Prize. In 1968, Schlesinger wrote speeches for Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 and the biography ''Robert Kennedy and His Times''. He later popularized the term ''imperial presidency'', warning against excessive power in the White House as typified by Richard Nixon. Late in his career, he came to oppose multiculturalism.John Patrick Diggins, ed., ''The Liberal Persuasion: Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and the Challenge of the American Past'' (1997
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Thinkers and leaders


Further reading

* Abrams, Richard M. ''America Transformed: Sixty Years of Revolutionary Change, 1941–2001'' (2006) * Alterman, Eric, and Kevin Mattson. ''The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama'' (2012) biographical approach to general surve
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* Baer, Kenneth S., ''Reinventing Democrats: The Politics of Liberalism from Reagan to Clinton'' (UP of Kansas, 2000) 361 pp * Battista, Andrew. ''The Revival of Labor Liberalism'' (2008) 268 pp.  * Bell, Jonathan and Timothy Stanley, eds. ''Making Sense of American Liberalism'' (2012) 272p
excerpt and text search
10 historical essays by experts * Boyle, Kevin. ''The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism 1945–1968'' (1995) on the UAW (auto workers) * Brands, H. W. ''The Strange Death of American Liberalism'' (2003); brief survey of all of American history. * Conn, Steven, ed. ''To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government'' (Oxford University Press; 2012) 233 pages; * Cronin, James, George Ross, and James Shoch, eds. ''What's Left of the Left: Democrats and Social Democrats in Challenging Times'' (Duke University Press; 2011); 413 pages; essays on how center-left political parties have fared in Europe and the U.S. since the 1970s. * John Patrick Diggins, Diggins, John Patrick, ed. ''The Liberal Persuasion: Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and the Challenge of the American Past,'' Princeton University Press, 1997. * Dionne, E. J. ''They Only Look Dead; Why Progressives will Dominate the Next Political Era'' (1996) * Feingold, Henry L. ''American Jewish Political Culture and the Liberal Persuasion'' (Syracuse University Press; 2014) 384 pages; traces the history, dominance, and motivations of liberalism in the American Jewish political culture, and look at concerns about Israel and memories of the Holocaust. * Hamby, Alonzo. ''Liberalism and Its Challengers: From F.D.R. to Bush'' (1992), by leading historian * Hamby, Alonzo L. "The Vital Center, the Fair Deal, and the Quest for a Liberal Political Economy." ''American Historical Review'' (1972): 653–678
in JSTOR
* Gary Hart, Hart, Gary. ''Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st century America'' (2002) by a leading Democrat * Hayward, Steven F. ''The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order: 1964–1980'' (2009), a conservative interpretation * Hays, Samuel P. ''Beauty, Health, and Permanence: Environmental Politics in the United States, 1955–1985'' (1987) * Jumonville, Neil. ''Henry Steele Commager: Midcentury Liberalism and the History of the Present'' (1999); Professor Henry Steele Commager (1902–1998) was a prolific historian and commentator * Kazin, Michael. ''American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation'' (2011) * Kramnick, Isaac and Theodore Lowi. ''American Political Thought'' (2006), textbook and reader * McKee, Guian A. ''The Problem of Jobs: Liberalism, Race, and Deindustrialization in Philadelphia'' (2008) * Matusow, Allen J. ''The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s'' (1984), by leading historian. * Nevins, Paul L. ''The Politics of Selfishness: How John Locke's Legacy is Paralzying America.'' (Praeger, 2010) * Richard Parker (economist), Parker, Richard. ''John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics'' (2006); biography of a leading intellectual of the 1940s–1960s * Rossinow, Doug. ''Visions of Progress: The Left-Liberal Tradition in America'' (2008) * Starr. Paul. ''Freedom's Power: The History and Promise of Liberalism'' (2007), by a leading liberal scholar * Stein, Herbert. ''Presidential Economics: The Making of Economic Policy From Roosevelt to Clinton'' (3rd ed. 1994) * Sugrue, Thomas J. ''Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North'' (2009) * Willard, Charles Arthur. ''Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy'' (1996); debunks liberalism, arguing that its exaggerated ideals of authenticity, unity, and community have deflected attention from the pervasive incompetence of "the rule of experts." * Wilentz, Sean. ''The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974–2008'' (2008), by a leading liberal.


See also

* Conservatism in the United States * Economic interventionism * Progressive Christianity * Progressive talk radio * Progressivism in the United States * List of American Liberals


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:United States Liberalism Social liberalism Liberalism in the United States, Progressivism in the United States, Politics of the United States, Modern liberalism