Summary of Everyone Was a Liberal

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In this dissection of a common and often-times conflicting term in the United States’ political history’s lexicon, author and professor Lawrence Glickman explores in detail the term “liberalism.” Glickman explains how both Republicans and Democrats have at one time or another claimed themselves to be liberals. He further describes the role, response and current status of the word. getAbstract recommends this analysis to anyone who wants to dive deeper into how definitions change in American politics.

About the Author

Lawrence Glickman, PhD, is a history professor at Cornell University. His is the author of Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America and A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society.



Between 1933 and 1938, former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal – a series of government-led social programs aimed at eliminating the poverty brought on by the Great Depression – had its fair share of support and opposition. People on either side of the argument found that they had one thing in common: They all identified as “liberals.”

The term “liberal” stretches far back before the 21st century. In 1947, the Los Angeles Times described the traditional meaning of “liberalism” as the belief “in the greatest possible freedom and consequently...

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