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Hartz: The liberal tradition in America

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Hartz. 1955. The liberal tradition in America.

In Brief

Because Americans never struggled with feudalism, American society didn't ever have to overcome a stubborn, confining social order. Americans fought for independence, true; but they never had a social revolution, only a political one. In contrast with Europe, America is a democracy of consensus, where both parties are liberals at heart. Just as Jefferson said, we are all Republicans and we are all Federalists. Both the "liberalism" and "conservatism" in American politics are mere wings of an overarching liberal mindset.

For reasons like this, Marx and the socialists were wrong to expect a social revolution in America.

Research on similar subjects


Hartz, Louis (author)American PoliticsLiberalismSocial CleavagesAmerican ExceptionalismCulturePublic OpinionPolitical Values

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