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Integrating intellectual, social, cultural, and economic history, Cohen argues that the reconstruction of liberalism hinged on the reaction of postbellum liberals to social and labor unrest. As new social movements of workers and farmers arose and phrased their protests in the rhetoric of democratic producerism, liberals retreated from earlier commitments to an expansive vision of democracy.

Redefining liberal ideas about citizenship and the state, says Cohen, they played a critical role in legitimating emergent corporate capitalism and politically insulating it from democratic challenge. As the social cost of economic globalization comes under international critical scrutiny, this book revisits the bitter struggles over the relationship between capitalism and democracy in post-Civil War America.

The Reconstruction of American Liberalism, 1865-1914 / Edition 1

The resolution of this problem offered by the new liberalism deeply influenced the progressives and has left an enduring legacy for twentieth-century American politics, Cohen argues. Dustin rated it liked it Sep 09, Tristan Sechrest rated it liked it Jan 11, Camille rated it liked it Oct 24, Dec 30, Andrew added it.

Contains one of the better--and more concise--explanations that I've read of the "battle of the standards" in the election of Cohen's unabashed partiality for certain figures over others and driving polemical energy provides a number of valuable insights but also leaves the book more uneven than many other treatments of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. On the other hand, her main argument about the necessity of paying much closer attention to the influence of the "mugwump" generation on Contains one of the better--and more concise--explanations that I've read of the "battle of the standards" in the election of On the other hand, her main argument about the necessity of paying much closer attention to the influence of the "mugwump" generation on the early progressives is entirely convincing.

Classical Liberalism vs. American Liberalism (Drive Home History #3)

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Unger on Cohen, 'The Reconstruction of American Liberalism, 1865-1914'

Tracing the transformation of liberal political ideology from the end of the Civil War to the early twentieth century, Nancy Cohen offers a new interpretation of the origins and character of modern liberalism. She argues that the values and programs associated with modern liberalism were formulated not during the Progressive Era, as most accounts maintain, but earlier, in Tracing the transformation of liberal political ideology from the end of the Civil War to the early twentieth century, Nancy Cohen offers a new interpretation of the origins and character of modern liberalism.

She argues that the values and programs associated with modern liberalism were formulated not during the Progressive Era, as most accounts maintain, but earlier, in the very different social context of the Gilded Age.


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Integrating intellectual, social, cultural, and economic history, Cohen argues that the reconstruction of liberalism hinged on the reaction of postbellum liberals to social and labor unrest. As new social movements of workers and farmers arose and phrased their protests in the rhetoric of democratic producerism, liberals retreated from earlier commitments to an expansive vision of democracy.