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  • Originally published 06/10/2013

    Harvey J. Kaye: Why Obama Is No FDR

    Harvey J. Kaye is Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He is the author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America (FSG 2005) and the forthcoming The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great (Simon & Schuster, 2014). Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HarveyJKayeCampaigning for a third term as president in 1940, Franklin Roosevelt told an enthusiastic crowd in Cleveland: “You provided work for free men and women … You used the powers of government to stop the depletion of the top soil … You wrote into law the right of working men and women to bargain collectively … You turned to the problems of youth and age … You made safe the banks.”

  • Originally published 06/04/2013

    Michael Kazin: The Forgotten President

    Michael Kazin is editor of Dissent and teaches history at Georgetown University. His latest book is American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation.The first liberal Democratic president took office exactly 100 years ago this spring. So why aren’t contemporary liberals bestowing the same praise on Woodrow Wilson as they lavish on Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson? Granted, if he were running today, Woodrow Wilson wouldn’t win a single Democratic primary and would no doubt be heckled out of the race. Raised in the South, he smiled on Jim Crow and did not object when two of his cabinet appointees re-segregated their departments. A crusading Presbyterian, he vowed to “teach the Latin American republics to elect good men” and dispatched troops to Mexico and Haiti when they didn’t follow his advice. During World War I, he enforced new laws that effectively outlawed most dissent from government policy.

  • Originally published 02/28/2013

    Peter Dreier: The Progressive Dr. Seuss

    Peter Dreier is professor of politics and chair of the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His new book, "The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame," was just published by Nation Books.On Friday, March 1, tens of millions of children and their parents will be reading Dr. Seuss books as part of Read Across America Day, sponsored by the National Educational Association (NEA) in partnership with local school districts and some businesses. The NEA, which started the program 16 years ago to encourage reading, was smart to tie the program to Dr. Seuss, who remains - more than two decades after his death - the world's most popular writer of modern children's books. Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904–1991) - Dr. Seuss' real name - wrote and illustrated 44 children's books, characterized by memorable rhymes, whimsical characters and exuberant drawings that have encouraged generations of children to love reading and expand their vocabularies. His books have been translated into more than 15 languages and have sold more than 200 million copies. They have been adapted into feature films, TV specials and a Broadway musical. He earned two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

  • Originally published 02/21/2013

    Michael Kazin: Who Are You Calling a Liberal?

    Michael Kazin’s most recent book is American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation. He is co-editor of Dissent and teaches history at Georgetown University.Contrary to what everyone who loved—or hated—his inaugural address seems to think, President Obama has yet to demonstrate that he is determined to launch a new liberal era. The big speech did gesture in that direction. Obama declared, in the style of FDR, that “our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.” The line about equality being “the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall” was a welcome salute to three of the most prominent civil rights movements in American history. And not since Lyndon Johnson has a president spoken about poverty with such apparent conviction and specificity: “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.”

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    National Review lauds Timothy Messer-Kruse for Haymarket books

    George Leef writes for the National Review.In the current National Review, John J. Miller has a fascinating  piece about history professor Timothy Messer-Kruse. Messer-Kruse became interested in finding out all that he could about the famous Haymarket Incident, which is an important part of the left/progressive narrative about the plight of labor in 19th-century America. The presumption among historians has long been that the people put on trial were innocent victims of a repressive society. Messer-Kruse believed that himself, until a question from a student caused him to look into the transcript of the trial. He came to the conclusion that the defendants were not innocent after all. Of course, when he wrote about his findings, he was blasted by leftist historians for having the nerve to challenge the prevailing (and politically useful) view....

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