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Liberalism and American Identity

ISBN: 9780873384513

Publication Date: Jun 1992

Format: Hardback

Discusses the meaning and importance of liberalism in American politics. It defines liberalism through historical examples and the beliefs and leadership of Roosevelt, Truman and John F. Kennedy, and applies these principles to current politics and the problems of crime, poverty and defence.

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Since 1968, liberalism as a viable political ideology has been under attack, with the most aggressive assault occurring in the 1988 presidential campaign. While conservatives denounced the "L-word" and proclaimed its death as a political ideology, liberals and Democrats failed to defend America's proud liberal tradition. Liberals have yet to take the ideological offensive. Indeed, without a clear ideological identity, it is not surprising that the Democratic Party appears uncertain as to its future political message. In "Liberalism and American identity", Patrick Garry presents a thesis of the meaning and importance of liberalism in American politics. His work attempts to rejuvenate political liberalism, after the devastating attack on it during the 1980s. Presenting a workable definition of liberalism, Garry demonstrates the vital role it has played, and can continue to play, in American history. His examination of the liberal ideology and tradition in American politics reveals not only the nation's liberal identity, but also the conservative tendency to label liberalism "unAmerican" as a means to circumvent discussion of social problems. Garry defines liberalism through historical examples and the beliefs and leadership of prominant Americans, namely Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. He then applies these principles to a discussion of current politics and the problems of crime, poverty, and national defense. Although arguing that the conservative attack during the 1980s greatly misrepresented the American liberal tradition, Garry also acknowledges that changes within accepted liberal doctrines during the 1960s and 1970s led to a deviation of contemporary liberalism from its roots. This betrayal of liberalism and its degeneration into special interest politics, he asserts, caused an identity crisis among liberals and alienated large segments of the American electorate previously supportive of the politics of Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy.
Illustrations bibliograpy, index
Date Published 30 Jun 1992
Publisher The Kent State University Press
Subject/s Liberalism & centre democratic ideologies  
Patrick M. Garry, J.D., is professor of law at the University of South Dakota. He is the author of several books including Scrambling for Protection: The New Media and the First Amendment and A Nation of Adversaries: The Social and Cultural Effect of America's Litigation Explosion

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