Critics and Crusaders: Political Economy and the American Quest for Freedom

Critics and Crusaders: Political Economy and the American Quest for Freedom

by Charles A. Madison (Editor)


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The quest for freedom has always been a defining characteristic of the American people. That neither constitutionalism nor capitalism has secured complete freedom for every person is demonstrated by media announcements of slavery, oppression, exploitation, and a variety of shortcomings in the economic system. That said, and as this volume seeks to demonstrate through a history of radical commentaries, there have always been bold spirits who fight for such ambitious heights.

With changing times, freedom meant different things to those who worked for it. This book in its broadest sense is a history of libertarianism. Each of the libertarians in this full study, extending from William Lloyd Garrison to Eugene V. Debs, fought for the ideal of political economy as a practical ideal. In so doing these major figures at the margins of power expanded the entire field of human rights. Charles A. Madison concludes that radicalism became an ideology in the search for freedom.

The zeal and activity of these figures did much to attain the political freedom and economic well- being that Americans are inclined to take for granted. These individual chapters are set in frames supplied by background sketches of the movements each group led, and the whole is an attempt to depict and re-evaluate America’s social progress without the rigor or formality of impersonalized history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781412847704
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
Publication date: 08/15/2012
Pages: 534
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Charles A. Madison (1895-1985) was the son of a factory worker in Detroit, Michigan. He worked his way through the University of Michigan, and then did graduate studies at Harvard University. His interests shifted from academic work to editorial work in New York. While in New York he started out at the American Book Company, and later on went to Henry Holt where he remained for thirty-eight years. Critics and Crusaders was a work six years in the making, from 1941 to 1947. His other works include Irving to Irving: Author-Publisher Relations, Eminent American Jews, and Publishing in America: The Impact of Jewish Writing on American Culture.

Table of Contents

The Abolitionists

The Abolitionist Background 3

William Lloyd Garrison: Apostolic Crusader 14

John Brown: A Fanatic in Action 39

Wendell Phillips: Agitator for the Common Good 60

The Utopians

The Utopian Background 83

Margaret Fuller: Transcendental Rebel 94

Albert Brisbane: Social Dreamer 114

Edward Bellamy: Social Planner 134

The Anarchists

The Anarchist Background 157

Henry David Thoreau: Transcendental Individualist 174

Benjamin R. Tucker: Individualist Anarchist 194

Emma Goldman: Anarchist Rebel 214

The Dissident Economists

The Economic Background 241

Henry George: Prophet of Human Rights 257

Brooks Adams: Jeremian Critic of Capitalism 285

Thorstein Veblen: Iconoclastic Economist 308

The Militant Liberals

The Liberal Background 343

John Peter Altgeld: Pioneer Progressive 366

Lincoln Steffens: Muckraker's Progress 395

Randolph Bourne: The History of a Literary Radical 419

The Socialists

The Socialist Background 445

Daniel De Leon: Apostle of Socialism 470

Eugene Victor Debs: Evangelical Socialist 486

John Reed: Rebel into Revolutionary 507

A Final Note 529

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