ABSTRACT. The author of this essay maintains that liberalism has been the primary source of progressive change in the United States since its earliest history. To support his claim, he traces the philosophical and political history of liberalism in England and the United States. The specific forms of liberalism have varied in different periods of history; but, he maintains, there is an underlying spirit of liberalism that has persisted throughout the past 350 years and can be the source of dynamic progressive social change in the 21st century. Throughout history, he maintains, liberalism has been committed to social progress and has sought to improve the lives of populations that are economically and politically disadvantaged. This underlying spirit, the author argues, can be the source for an energized liberal agenda for the 21st century. pp. 11–36

Keywords: liberalism; political philosophy; political history

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School of Social Work,
Columbia University

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