Illiberal Reformers

Illiberal Reformers Race, Eugenics & American Economics in the Progressive Era

Paperback (03 Feb 2017)

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Publisher's Synopsis

The pivotal and troubling role of progressive-era economics in the shaping of modern American liberalism

In Illiberal Reformers, Thomas Leonard reexamines the economic progressives whose ideas and reform agenda underwrote the Progressive Era dismantling of laissez-faire and the creation of the regulatory welfare state, which, they believed, would humanize and rationalize industrial capitalism. But not for all. Academic social scientists such as Richard T. Ely, John R. Commons, and Edward A. Ross, together with their reform allies in social work, charity, journalism, and law, played a pivotal role in establishing minimum-wage and maximum-hours laws, workmen's compensation, antitrust regulation, and other hallmarks of the regulatory welfare state. But even as they offered uplift to some, economic progressives advocated exclusion for others, and did both in the name of progress. Leonard meticulously reconstructs the influence of Darwinism, racial science, and eugenics on scholars and activists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, revealing a reform community deeply ambivalent about America's poor. Illiberal Reformers shows that the intellectual champions of the regulatory welfare state proposed using it not to help those they portrayed as hereditary inferiors but to exclude them.

Book information

ISBN: 9780691175867
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 330.973091
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 250
Weight: 434g
Height: 156mm
Width: 235mm
Spine width: 23mm