LEADERS AND LIBERALS by Charles A. Madison


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Despite the misleading title this is not a biographical study but a frank facing of the fact that the U.S.A. cannot return to the rugged individualism of the early century, but is launched on the concept of dynamic democracy, actually synonymous with the goals of the welfare state. Through key figures in our 20th century political history he charts the steps, beginning with Theodore Roosevelt and his abortive gestures towards curbing monopoly and corruption, going on to Woodrow Wilson's meteoric career, which came close to success only to dissipate in failure. He views the parochial radicalism of La Follette, and he sees Brandies as the connecting link between the old and the new. Social justice had won the first round of its struggle. With Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal a new era was established; George Norris was stalwart in his insistence on the role of government in making possible such achievements as TVA; Hugo Black, starting as a reactionary, became the symbol of New Deal justice in its best sense. Madison is somewhat cynical about the place of Harry Truman in ultimate historical perspective- but gives him what he feels is his due. The final chapter, summarizing his argument, high-lighting the figures he has chosen as spearheading the movement, and assessing the throwbacks of the recent years, is perhaps the most valuable part of the whole. As biographical material this is negligible; each chapter has to be considered as using the man under consideration as representative of the stops towards our brand of welfare state.

Publisher: Fred. Ungar (131 E. 23rd St. NYC)