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TRADITIONALIST DISSENT: THE REORIENTATION OF AMERICAN CONSERVATISM, 1865–1900*

  • GILLIS J. HARP (a1)

Abstract

The last couple of decades has brought a renewed interest in American conservatism among historians. Yet most recent studies have focused on the emergence of neoconservatism after World War II and virtually no recent scholarly work has pursued the history of conservatism before the 1920s. Both Richard Hofstadter and Clinton Rossiter agreed that the late nineteenth century was an important watershed in the evolution of American conservative thought. Hofstadter argued that the new laissez-faire conservatism that became dominant during the Gilded Age was remarkable in that “it lacked many of the signal characteristics of conservatism as it is usually found.” Yet some conservatives refused to accept key features of what Clinton Rossiter once branded this new “contradictory conservatism.” This essay focuses mostly on Protestant clerical intellectuals (both Northern and Southern) who dissented from the new orthodoxy and attempted to preserve older conservative principles. Against the laissez-faire conservatives' hyperindividualism, these dissenting conservatives stressed an organic view of the social order and the importance of mediating institutions such as family and church. To the others' secularism, they offered a social theory suffused with evangelical Protestantism. This analysis highlights where these dissidents differed from their fellow conservatives and seeks also to elucidate their alternative conservative vision of the American republic. Such a study serves to clarify just how profound an ideological shift occurred among conservatives during the Gilded Age and illuminates some of the persistent tensions within American conservatism still evident today.

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1 Armey, Dick, “Freedom's Choir,” Policy Review (Winter 1994), 27. Armey's own perspective was more sanguine; he believed that both groups' commitment to freedom, broadly defined, was an adequate basis for the continued electoral success of the coalition.

2 Nash, George H., The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2006; first published 1976), 567–70, chaps. 5 and 6. See also Murphy, Paul V., The Rebuke of History: The Southern Agrarians and American Conservative Thought (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), chap. 5, esp. 118–21; Burns, Jennifer, “Godless Capitalism: Ayn Rand and the Conservative Movement,” Modern Intellectual History 1 (2004), 127. Murphy amends Nash's interpretation in significant ways.

3 See here J. David Hoeveler's entry “conservatism” in Richard Fox, W. and Kloppenberg, James T., eds., A Companion to American Thought (London: Blackwell, 1998), 142. Also see McDonald, Forrest, “Conservatism,” in Greene, Jack P., ed., Encyclopedia of American Political History, 3 vols. (New York: Scribner's, 1984), 1: 355–6; Kirk, Russell, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, 7th edn (Chicago: Regnery, 1986), 89.

4 Zvesper, John, “Liberalism,” in Miller, David, ed., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 286.

5 Ross, Dorothy, “Liberalism,” in Greene, Encyclopedia of American Political History, 2: 755.

6 Ross, “Liberalism,” 757. See also Lustig, R. Jeffrey, Corporate Liberalism: The Origins of Modern American Political Theory, 1890–1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982); Cohen, Nancy, Reconstruction of American Liberalism: 1865–1914 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Butler, Leslie, Critical Americans: Victorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

7 Rossiter, Clinton, Conservatism in America: The Thankless Persuasion (New York: Vintage, 1962), 128. It was Rossiter who first labeled those traditionalists “dissidents” who refused to go along with this new conservatism (ibid., 156). See also Lerner, Max, “The Triumph of Laissez-Faire,” in Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. and White, Morton, eds., Paths of American Thought (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963), 151. Hofstadter exaggerated the Darwinian element in the thought of William Graham Sumner and others. See Bannister, Robert C., Social Darwinism: Science and Myth (Philadelphia: Temple Press, 1988).

8 Lerner, “Triumph,” 153.

9 Hofstadter, Richard, Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1860–1915 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1944), 7.

10 In addition to the Hofstatder, Rossiter and Kirk works already cited, one might also include Labaree, Leonard Woods, Conservatism in Early American History (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1948); McCloskey, Robert Green, American Conservatism in the Age of Enterprise: A Study of William Graham Sumner, Stephen J. Field, and Andrew Carnegie (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1951); and Paul, Arnold M., Conservative Crisis and the Rule of Law: Attitudes of Bar and Bench (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1960).

11 Brinkley, Alan, “The Problem of American Conservatism,” American Historical Review 99 (1994), 409–29. Ribuffo, Leo makes this point in his helpful essay “Conservatism and American Politics,” Journal of the Historical Society 3 (2003), 163–75. Ribuffo comments pointedly that “with rare exceptions, participants in the current scholarly rediscovery of conservatism begin the story roughly 160 years too late” (164). Not to be confused with the ‘new conservatism’ mentioned above, neoconservatism is usually the label employed to designate that group of disillusioned liberals who became critics of liberal social policy during the late 1960s and the 1970s. It included, among others, Irving Kristol, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Nathan Glazer. See Nash, Conservative Intellectual Movement, chap. 11.

12 Tomsich, A Genteel Endeavor: American Culture and Politics in the Gilded Age (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1971), 111–12; Butler, Critical Americans.

13 McClay, Wilfred M., The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), 133–48. Sklansky, Jeffrey, The Soul's Economy: Market, Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 26.

14 For an astute critique of this sort of separation see May, Henry F., “Intellectual History and Religious History,” in Higham, John and Conkin, Paul K., eds., New Directions in American Intellectual History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979), esp. 107–14. As May observes, “it must be borne in mind that people of this [Gilded Age] generation were reacting to these physical stimuli [industrialization and urbanization] in terms of the complex intellectual and religious tradition carried on from earlier periods” (111).

15 George Fredrickson, “Intellectuals and the Labor Question in Late Nineteenth-Century America,” paper delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York, December 1985, 5–6, 9, cited by permission. See also Freidel, Francis, Francis Lieber: Nineteenth-Century Liberal (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1947); Neely, Mark E. Jr, “Romanticism, Nationalism, and the New Economics: Elisha Mulford and the Organic Theory of the State,” American Quarterly 29 (1977), 404–21; Ross, Dorothy, “Are We a Nation? The Conjuncture of Nationhood and Race in the United States, 1850–1876,” Modern Intellectual History 2 (2005), 327–60.

16 Two of the main subjects of Mark Hanley's study, Horace Bushnell and Francis Wayland, were of an older generation than most of my dissidents, born at the turn of the nineteenth century and not living much beyond the end of the Civil War. See Hanley, Mark, Beyond a Christian Commonwealth: The Protestant Quarrel with the American Republic, 1830–1860 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994).

17 Rodgers, Daniel T., Contested Truths: Keywords in American Politics since Independence (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), 158–9.

18 Stevenson, Louise L., Scholarly Means to Evangelical Ends: The New Haven Scholars and the Transformation of Higher Learning in America, 1830–1890 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), 41 ff.; Marsden, George M., The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 124. The second quotation is from Stevenson, Scholarly Means, 15.

19 For biographical details on Thompson see James Bossard, H. S., “Robert Ellis Thompson: Pioneer Professor of Social Science,” American Journal of Sociology 35 (1929), 239–49. Also “Robert Ellis Thompson,” in National Cyclopedia of American Biography, vol. 10 (New York: James T. White, 1900), 18. These two sources disagree about the date of Thompson's appointment.

20 Letter, Noah Porter to William Graham Sumner, 12 January 1886, William Graham Sumner Paper, Yale University, Series I, Box #19, Folder #520.

21 See Graham, W. Fred, The Constructive Revolutionary: John Calvin: His Socio-economic Impact (Richmond, VA: John Knox, 1971). Unlike Luther, Calvin conceived of a Christian commonwealth, “a godly polity . . . [that was] both a civil and spiritual collectivity.” Hopfl, Harro, “Jean Calvin,” in Miller, David, ed., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987), 56. I am using ‘theocratic’ here, however, not in the literal sense of rule by clergy or the church but to characterize political and economic thought for which religious belief is absolutely central.

22 Brown, Bernard Edward, American Conservatives: The Political Thought of Francis Lieber and John W. Burgess (New York: Columbia University Press, 1951); Brown, Colin, “Elisha Mulford (1833–85) and His Influence: A ‘Fame Not Equal to His Deserts?’Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 108/1 (1984), 2558; Neely, “Romanticism, Nationalism, and the New Economics.”

23 Clarke, E., “Presbyterians in the South,” in Hart, D. G. and Noll, Mark A., eds., Dictionary of the Presbyterian and Reformed Tradition in America (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1999), 246–8.

24 Noll, Mark, “The Princeton Theology,” in Wells, David F., ed. The Princeton Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1989), 24.

25 Lucas, Sean Michael, Robert Lewis Dabney: A Southern Presbyterian Life (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2005). For Miller see Witherspoon, E. D. Jr, ed., Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 1861–1967 (Doraville, GA: Foote and Davies, 1967), 382.

26 For Sumner, universities had to be non-sectarian in order to be truly scientific. See Marsden, The Soul of the American University, chap. 11 and 114–16.

27 The “communitarian Calvinist” phrase is from Sklansky.

28 Rowland Hazard, “What Social Classes Owe to Each Other,” Andover Review 1 (Feb. 1884), 160.

29 These conservatives garnered their idealism both from antebellum Romanticism and from the political theory of German idealists such as Hegel. From the latter's work (as mediated by Lieber, Mulford, and others), they constructed a politics that was an integral part of a grand philosophical system and thoroughly grounded in history. See Raymond Plant, “Idealism,” in Miller, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought, 233.

30 Fredrickson, “Intellectuals and the Labor Question,” 6.

31 Fredrickson, “Intellectuals and the Labor Question,” 6–7. Fredrickson connects this intellectual thread to the Social Gospel movement and historical economics.

32 Rodgers, Contested Truths, 158. Rodgers observes that Woolsey was also an “editor and preserver of Francis Lieber's works” (ibid).

33 As shown below, the idea of a powerful state was clearly much more problematic for Southerners.

34 Lyman H. Atwater Papers. Princeton University, Box #1, Vol. 1 on “Civil Government,” p. 1. For biographical details regarding Atwater see Gary Scott Smith. “Atwater, Lyman Hotchkiss”; http://www.anb.org/articles/20/20-00039.html; American National Biography Online, Feb. 2000, accessed 21 Aug. 2007.

35 Porter, Noah, The Elements of Moral Science: Theoretical and Practical (New York: Scribner's, 1893), 523.

36 Meyer, D. H., The Instructed Conscience: The Shaping of the American National Ethic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972), 103. Meyer is paraphrasing excerpts from a work of Henry Vethake's published in 1838.

37 Thompson, Robert Ellis, The Divine Order of Human Society; Being the L. P. Stone Lectures for 1891, delivered in Princeton Theological Seminary (Philadelphia: J. D. Wattles, 1891), 260.

38 Coulson, G. J. A., “Rights and Duties,” Southern Presbyterian Review, 23 (1872), 116–17.

39 See Bushnell, Horace, Reverses Needed: A Discourse delivered on the Sunday after the Disaster of Bull Run (Hartford, 1861), 1013. This remark is also quoted by Howe, Daniel Walker in The Political Culture of the American Whigs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), 69.

40 Sklansky, The Soul's Economy, 26. See also Fries, Sylvia D., “Staatstheorie and the New American Science of Politics,” Journal of the History of Ideas 34 (1973), 391.

41 Theodore Woolsey Papers, Yale University, “Legal Right,” misc. notes, n.d., Series II, Box 46, folder #224.

42 Aiken, C. A., “Christianity and Social Problems,” Presbyterian and Reformed Review 3 (1982), 81.

43 Miller, “Christ and the State,” Southern Presbyterian Review 21 (1870), 234.

44 Ibid, 234, 233.

45 Mulford, E., The Nation: The Foundations of Civil Order and Political Life in the United States (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1881), 55–6.

46 Mulford quoted in Neely, “Romanticism, Nationalism, and the New Economics,” 406.

47 Mulford papers, Yale University, Box #12, Folder #96 (in notebook entitled “Book on the Family” dated 1882).

48 Elisha Mulford Papers, Yale University, Group 361, Series II, Box 14, Folder 124, p. 13? (illegible).

49 Mulford, The Nation, 278–9.

50 Thompson, Divine Order, 59–60. Theodore Woolsey also wrote on the subject. See his Essay on Divorce and Divorce Legislation, with Special Reference to the United States (New York: Scribner's, 1869).

51 “The Drift of American Politics,” Southern Presbyterian Review 32 (1881), 325.

52 Hodge, A. A., Evangelical Theology: A Course of Popular Lectures (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976; first published 1890), 286.

53 Howe, Political Culture of the American Whigs, 81. There was certainly some diversity among the traditionalists in this respect. Some (like Atwater) leaned in a more contractual direction, while others such as Thompson were more thoroughly and consistently organicist. These two disagreed sharply over protectionism in particular and the extent of state intervention in general.

54 Thompson, Divine Order, 85.

55 Woolsey Family Papers, Yale University, Theodore Woolsey, “International Law: Rights & State: Social Compact, Lecture VIII, n.d. Group #562, Series #II, Box 46, Folder #227. I have inserted punctuation in this quotation but the italics are in the original. Of course, some of the “new conservatives” (such as Sumner) also had problems with abstract state-of-nature models. Sumner appears to have imbibed some of this organicism from his study of English theologian Richard Hooker, though he had also been exposed to the Whiggish political theory of Lieber and Woolsey as a student. See Ross, Dorothy, The Origins of American Social Science (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 85.

56 Woolsey, T. D., Political Science or the State, vol. 1 (New York: Scribner's, 1893) 195. This excerpt is all in italics in the original.

57 Atwater Papers, Box #1, vol. 1, lectures on “civil government,” pp. 33, 39.

58 R. Dean Davenport, “Patriarchy and Politics: A Comparative Evaluation of the Religious, Political and Social Thought of Sir Robert Filmer and Robert Lewis Dabney” (Ph.D. dissertation, Baylor University, 2006), 350–62. Davenport notes that Dabney broke with Filmer on several related subjects including the latter's rejection of a right to rebellion.

59 Atwater, Lyman H., “The Labor Question in Its Economic and Christian Aspects,” Presbyterian Quarterly and Princeton Review 3 (July 1872), 491.

60 “Old Democracy,” Christian Union 31 (3 June 1886), 4. Lyman Abbott was likely the author of this piece.

61 Porter, Noah, The Elements of Moral Science: Theoretical and Practical (New York: Scribner's, 1893), 490–93.

62 Thompson, Robert Ellis, “Social Reform and the Socialists,” The Chautauquan: A Weekly Newsmagazine 12 (March 1891), 732.

63 Ross, The Origins of American Social Science, 79.

64 See Meyer, Instructed Conscience.

65 Marsden, Soul of the American University, chap. 7. See also Starr, Harris E., William Graham Sumner (New York: Holt, 1925), chap. 15; Bledstein, Burton J., “Noah Porter versus William Graham Sumner,” Church History 43 (1974), 340–49.

66 Political economy was another, often overlooked, facet of the Porter–Sumner dispute. David Wells, for example, urged Sumner not to resign during the controversy lest he aid and abet protectionists; perhaps he had Porter's views in mind here. See Donald C. Bellomy, “William Graham Sumner: The Molding of an lconoclast,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1980, 629, original n. 149. Several years after the textbook controversy, Porter wrote Sumner regarding a proposal to invite R. E. Thompson to deliver a “course of lectures in [illegible] defense of the protection system” at Yale. Thompson's well-published views on the subject were certainly closer to Porter's and Sumner was unlikely to have been pleased by the prospect. Porter to Sumner, 12 Jan. 1886, Noah Porter Papers, Yale University.

67 Miller, “Christ and the State,” 234.

68 Atwater Papers, Princeton University, Box #1, vol.1, lectures on “Civil Government,” p. 79.

69 No author provided, review of Political Science, or the State Theoretically and Practically Considered, in North American Review 126 (Jan.–Feb. 1876), 174.

70 Thompson called Mulford's The Nation “the greatest book of our political literature.” See Thompson, Divine Order, 121.

71 Ibid., 6. William B. Greene at Princeton Seminary also referred to the Bible as “the ‘text-book’ of sociology, in that it lays the foundations for a ‘divine order of human society,’ although it does ‘not cover every sociological question.’” See Kennedy, Earl William, “William Brenton Greene's Treatment of Social Issues,” Journal of Presbyterian History 40 (1962), 93.

72 Thompson, Divine Order, 13.

73 Ibid, 14. Thompson took pains to distinguish his approach to sociology both from the formalistic and ahistorical political economists of the past and from the naturalistic social theorists of the present. See ibid., 3, 11.

74 Lyman H. Atwater, “The State in Relation to Morality, Religion, and Education,” Princeton Review (Jan.–June 1878), 396.

75 Atwater, “Civil Government and Religion,” Presbyterian Quarterly and Princeton Review (April 1876), 200–1, 203, 210.

76 Lyman H. Atwater, “The State in Relation to Morality, Religion, and Education,” Princeton Review (Jan.–June 1878), 416–17. See also Hodge, A. A., “Religion in the Public Schools,” New Princeton Review 3 (1887), 2847.

77 Atwater, “Civil Government and Religion,” 229.

78 Mulford Papers, Yale University, Box 14, Folder 124, p. 129.

79 Hazard, “What Social Classes Owe to Each Other,” 165.

80 Ibid., 168. The order of these excerpts has been reversed here.

81 Ibid., 169.

82 Aiken, “Christianity and Social Problems,” 80.

83 Atwater, Lyman H., Ethics and Political Economy from Notes Taken in the Lecture Room of Lyman H. Atwater (Princeton, NJ: William S. Sharp, 1878), 71.

84 Dabney, Robert L., The Practical Philosophy (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1984; first published 1897), 490.

85 The phrase comes from The Education of Henry Adams, where Henry Adams refers at least twice to maintaining a lonely vigil guarding the principles of the young republic. See The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930), 335, 343.

86 Noel O'Sullivan notes how “both liberalism and conservatism share common ground in Lockeian liberal principles.” See “Conservatism,” in Miller, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought, 97. See also, among others, Appleby, Joyce O., Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the 1790s (New York: NYU Press, 1984).

87 Dabney, Robert L., “The Philosophy Regulating Private Corporations,” in Discussions, vol. 3, ed. by Vaughan, C. R. (Harrisonville, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1980; first published 1892), 334.

88 Ibid., 343.

89 Hess, J. S., “A Politico-economic Problem,” Reformed Quarterly Review 30 (1883), 464. Hess, notably an active a member of the German Reformed Church, had studied at Mercersburg Theological Seminary and for two years at several universities in Germany. He was, however, never ordained and became involved in “the lumber and coal business.” For biographical background see “J. S. Hess Dies Suddenly,” Easton Express, 30 March 1928, 33.

90 Hess, “A Politico-economic Problem,” 465.

91 [Lyman Abbott], “Laissez Faire,” Christian Union, 28 Aug. 1878, 162.

92 Dabney, The Practical Philosophy, 467.

93 Meyers, Marvin, The Jacksonian Persuasion: Politics and Belief (New York: Vintage, 1960), 15.

94 Tomsich, A Genteel Endeavor, 111. But Tomsich then adds, “Yet its theories foreshadow those of Progressivism. Genteel and progressive thinkers alike were middle-class men alarmed when they saw big capital and big labor revising the rules that had rewarded moral effort with economic success.” The role of these ideas within conservative thought is not explored by Tomsich.

95 See Atwater, “The Labor Question,” 491; Atwater, “The Great Railroad Strike,” The Princeton Review 6 (1877), 737.

96 Dabney, “The Philosophy Regulating Private Corporations,” 329.

97 Dabney, The Practical Philosophy, 457.

98 Ibid., 467.

99 Dabney, “The Philosophy Regulating Private Corporations,” 336.

100 Ibid., 344–5; original emphasis.

101 Woolsey, “The New Era,” New Englander 25 (1866), 199. Also quoted by Stevenson in Scholarly Means, 145.

102 Dabney, “Philosophy Regulating Private Corporations,” 342, 346.

103 Thompson, Divine Order, 142–3. Also quoted by Gary Scott Smith in The Seeds of Secularization: Calvinism, Culture, and Pluralism in America, 1870–1915 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian University Press, 1985), 126, n. 1.

104 Thompson, Divine Order, 144–50. Even Lyman Atwater, rarely a critic of the corporate form, inveighed against some big business owners. See [Atwater], “Ethics and Economics of Commercial Speculation,” Biblical Repertory & Princeton Review 41 (April 1869), 247, unsigned but likely by Atwater.

105 [Atwater], “Ethics and Economics,” 247.

106 Woolsey, “The New Era,” 199. Also quoted by Stevenson, Scholarly Means, 145.

107 [Atwater], “Ethics and Economics,” 246, 248.

108 Dabney, “Philosophy of Regulating Corporations,” 333–5.

109 Adams, Education, 344. Though he valued traditional Christian belief, Adams had drunk too deeply from the wells of Comte and other modernist critics to embrace orthodoxy.

110 Allen D. Hertzke, “Evangelicals, Populists, and the Great Reversal: Protestant Civil Society and Economic Concern” (paper presented at conference organized by the Workshop on American Political Development at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 28 Sept. 1996).

111 Stevenson, Scholarly Means, 138–45.

112 Kennedy, “William Brenton Greene's Treatment,” 93.

113 Two exceptions to this rule do warrant mention here: the New Humanists and the Nashville Agrarians. The former included Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More, who influenced postwar conservatives such as Russell Kirk and George F. Will; the Agrarians certainly echoed many of Dabney's themes in I'll Take My Stand. Still, they were marginal groups with little mainstream social or political influence. Moreover, unlike my subjects, most of these later indidivduals were not orthodox, practising Christians (More and Tate did eventually convert). See Crunden, Robert, The Superfluous Men: Conservative Critics of American Culture, 1900–1945 (Austin: University of Texas, 1977); Viereck, Peter, Conservatism Revisited (New York: Free Press, 1965); Murphy, The Rebuke of History.

114 This shift occurred mostly under the editorial leadership of Lyman Abbott, a theological liberal and not a dissident conservative. See Brown, Ira V., Lyman Abbott, Christian Evolutionist: A Study in Religious Liberalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953).

115 George Fredrickson is among the few historians to recognize this connection between traditionalists like Elisha Mulford and the subsequent Progressive movement. See Fredrickson, “Intellectuals and the Labor Question,” 7–9.

116 Neely, “Romanticism, Nationalism, and the New Economics,” 421. Like Fredrickson, Neely underscores this connection between Mulford and the Progressives. See esp. 417–18. Also see Steigerwald, David, “The Synthetic Politics of Woodrow Wilson,” Journal of the History of Ideas 50 (1989), 465–84. For Wilson's Burkean conservatism see Ross, The Origins of American Social Science, 264–5.

117 John Morton Blum describes the New Freedom as preserving “the romantic individualism that Wilson cherished.” Blum, Woodrow Wilson and the Politics of Morality (Boston: Little, Brown, 1956), 62. See also Link, Arthur S., “Woodrow Wilson: The American as Southerner,” Journal of Southern History 36 (1970), 317. Steigerwald (“Synthetic Politics,” 479–82) does not, however, believe that the New Freedom platform reflected accurately Wilson's political views.

118 See Murphy, Rebuke of History, esp. Introduction and chap. 1.

* An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Atlanta. I am very grateful for the patient assistance of Charles Capper, Wilfred McClay, Gary S. Smith, P. C. Kemeny and four anonymous external readers engaged by this journal. A Kohler Fellowship from the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society generously underwrote some of my research expenses.

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