George W. Norris: Gentle Knight of American Democracy

George W. Norris: Gentle Knight of American Democracy

George W. Norris: Gentle Knight of American Democracy

George W. Norris: Gentle Knight of American Democracy

Excerpt

It is an unpleasant commentary on American politics in the second half of the twentieth century that morality in politics elicits sustained praise as being most commendable and difficult of achievement rather than being casually accepted as a standard norm of behavior. This truism, in turn, is related to the larger and even more unpleasant contemporary syndrome which considers idealism in domestic politics either a mischievous and passing aberration, or a pragmatic expression securely related to the next election. But this was not always the prevailing ethos. American politics at the beginning of the twentieth century were permeated with a vigorous and dynamic moral idealism which, when translated into political action, became the progressive movement.

This movement or, more accurately, these movements (recent scholarship has produced a wealth of rich -- and sometimes conflicting -- interpretations of the causal forces that shaped and directed them) gave rise to a host of men who left their image on the American scene. Among them was George W. Norris. He was a throwback to populism, a link between the progressive period and the New Deal, and a bridge between the throbbing reform waves of the farm and the city. From his long and fruitful career . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.