The End Of Liberalism In Recession And War By Alan Brinkley

Decent Essays
This report is on Alan Brinkley’s book; The End of Reform, New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War. The book is an historic critique of the New Deal from 1933-1939 and liberalism in the United States. The author contends that the New Deal is a story not limited by just an examine of the legislative and administrative processes, but also a broader study of the events and philosophies that developed at the turn of the 1900’s which then shaped our nation and continue to influence our expectations around government, society and capitalism.
The book starts with a discussion on, what does it mean to be a liberal and what events take place to thrust these political ideals into our political environment? To be a liberal has meant different things at different time in our history. For purposes of this book, Brinkley focuses on what it means to be a liberal at the turn of the twentieth century. The concept of “progressivism” or “reform” liberalism begins to take shape “the belief in the interconnectedness of society, and thus in the need to protect individuals, communities, and the government itself from excessive corporate power,
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Previously societies struggled for basic survival “the assumption of scarcity had shaped ideas about economic life and ideas about the role of government within it; it had elevated the values of thrift, restraint, and self-denial to central places in Western culture” pg. 67 Brinkley quotes Simon Patton an economist in the 1896 that states, “we are now in the transition stage from this pain economy to a pleasure economy” pg. 67. With these changes economist come to believe that consumption is the “engine driving the economy, and hence a positive public good was largely new to the industrial age.” Liberalism comes into its own during the great depression and “it transforms in response to the demands of a new and challenging time” pgs.
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