Cover image for The retreat from liberalism : collectivists versus progressives in the New Deal years
The retreat from liberalism : collectivists versus progressives in the New Deal years
Best, Gary Dean.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2002.
Physical Description:
174 p.


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Book BILKUTUP0285884 E806 .B4944 2002 Central Campus Library

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During the 1930s, a battle was waged over both philosophy and policy between those who described themselves as liberals, both inside and outside the Roosevelt administration. On one side were those who viewed themselves as modern liberals, who saw capitalism as a failure and sought to replace it with a collectivist society and economy. On the other were more traditional American liberals or progressives who aimed merely to reform capitalism, in the belief that individual liberty and a free economy were synonymous. This study examines the role of each during this vital decade. Instead of reaching its high point in the New Deal years, Best argues, American liberalism retreated from most of its major tenets as a result of the popularity of collectivism.

Challenging existing stereotypes and conventional wisdom concerning the 1930s, this study delves into the controversy between the new liberals and the free enterprise group. Included in this latter category were the Brandeisians, who exercised considerable influence within the Roosevelt administration, as well as a variety of more traditional liberals who worked through other channels to achieve their goals. Many of those who called themselves liberals in the 1930s had, Best contends, actually abandoned their basic liberal tenets. This included the president as well.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
1 A Leap into the Darkp. 11
2 Misgivingsp. 27
3 The Combatantsp. 41
4 Confusion in the Ranksp. 59
5 Creative Economicsp. 75
6 Collectivists and the Courtp. 91
7 Progressives and the Courtp. 107
8 The Good Societyp. 123
9 Disenchantmentp. 137
Epiloguep. 151
Notesp. 155
Bibliographyp. 167
Indexp. 171