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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

We need to go beyond Louis Hartz’s The Liberal Tradition in America, not only in terms of how we think of liberalism but also in terms of how we think of and, more importantly, do American political development. Hartz’s conception of liberalism was too reified to capture the richness of American policy debates and his historical narrative does not tell us much about political development. Yet, his initial premise of a consensual liberal tradition that has structured policy debates remains a good starting point for thinking about and doing American political development. Several recent studies offer excellent templates for conducting research that integrates the roles of liberal ideas and illiberal purposes in explaining specific policy outcomes.

Keywords: Liberalism, slavery, healthcare reform, Louis Hartz, multiple traditions, republicanism, American exceptionalism

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