Foreign Travel Was Once Taboo for American Presidents
Sidney Milkis revisits this emotionally charged contest to show how a party seemingly consumed by its leader's ambition dominated the election and left an enduring legacy that set in motion the rise of mass democracy and the expansion of national administrative power. Milkis depicts the Progressive Party as a collective enterprise of activists, spearheaded by TR, who pursued a program of reform dedicated to direct democracy and social justice and a balance between rights and civic duty. These reformers hoped to create a new concept of citizenship that would fulfill the lofty aspirations of "we the people" in a quest for a "more perfect union"—a quest hampered by fierce infighting over civil rights and antitrust policy.
Milkis has set a standard for understanding TR and progressive reform that will ensure his book will be read for years to come. An enjoyable must-read for scholars of American political development.
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Exciting, wise, elegant, and altogether pathbreaking. It is must reading for students of electoral and policy history.
Foreign Travel Was Once Taboo for American Presidents - HISTORY
Milkis persuasively shows how the Progressive conundrum—how to reconcile the ideals of democracy with the goals of effective government—took root and how it continues to reverberate throughout our public life today. Milkis shows that the Progressive campaign aroused not just an important debate over reforms but also a battle for the very meaning of Progressivism. He describes how Roosevelt gave focus to the party with his dedication to "pure democracy"—even shoehorning judicial recall into his professed "true conservative" stance.
Although this pledge to make the American people "masters of their Constitution" provoked considerable controversy, Milkis contends that the Progressives were not all that far removed from the more nationally minded of the Founders. As Milkis reveals, the party's faith in a more plebiscitary form of democracy would ultimately rob it of the very organization it needed in order to survive after Roosevelt.
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