The Dilemma of Progressivism: How Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson Reshaped the American Regime of Self-Government

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9780742560741: The Dilemma of Progressivism: How Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson Reshaped the American Regime of Self-Government

In the first book-length study of Progressive-Era presidents' views on the theme of self-government, The Dilemma of Progressivism critically analyzes their understanding of executive leadership and the office of the presidency. Will Morrisey examines both the rhetoric and the actions of Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson to show the ways in which their thought shaped their presidencies. He shows how the Progressive presidents dealt with the genesis of a modern, centralized American state and the conflicting increase in popularity of the notion of self-government.

Drawing larger conclusions about the key American ideas of self-government, federalism, freedom, and social welfare, Morrisey strikes the right balance between political theory and history in this study on self-government and the political thought of three American presidents.

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About the Author:

Will Morrisey is the William and Patricia LaMothe Chair in the American Constitution and Associate Professor of Political Science at Hillsdale College. He is also author of Self-Government, The American Theme (Lexington Books, 2004).

Review:

Will Morrisey is one of the most penetrating students of statesmanship and political philosophy writing today. This learned and wise book continues his exploration of the meaning―and fate―of self-government in the American political tradition and in the western democratic world as whole. It shows exactly what is at stake in the contemporary displacement of natural rights by an amorphous 'historical consciousness' as well as the difficulty of sustaining self-government in a world dominated bureaucratic statism. (Daniel J. Mahoney, Assumption College)

Well-written volume....Recommended. (CHOICE, January 2010)

Consumers of high political philosophy will find this book stimulating. (Claremont Review of Books)

In this philosophically informed study of the political thought of Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson, Will Morrisey provides a fair-minded critique of the challenge to American anti-statist constitutionalism posed by progressive reformers and intellectuals in the early twentieth century. Morrisey's lucid and penetrating account elevates the study of the origins of the modern liberal state to a new level of historical insight and understanding. (Herman Belz, University of Maryland)

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