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The Progressives' CenturyPolitical Reform, Constitutional Government, and the Modern American State$
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Stephen Skowronek, Stephen M Engel, and Bruce Ackerman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300204841

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300204841.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Progressivism, Liberalism, and the Rich

Progressivism, Liberalism, and the Rich

(p.243) 11 Progressivism, Liberalism, and the Rich
The Progressives' Century

Michael McGerr

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the indictment of wealthy Americans by progressives and liberals alike. Both effectively demonized the rich as alien beings who threatened the national community. The campaign against great wealth produced a paradoxical denouement. By the 1940s, the liberals' crusade helped create the seemingly homogeneous, essentially middle-class national community they wanted. But by the end of the twentieth century, the liberals' very success undermined their vigilance against the threat of wealth, helped make the rich seem safely like other Americans, and, paradoxically, made a liberal governmental elite appear to be the true threat to national community. As a result, liberalism has, in recent years, proved too conservative and too ineffective against the continuing resurgence of great fortunes in the early twenty-first century.

Keywords:   Progressives, liberals, liberalism, wealthy Americans, middle class

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