Henry Steele Commager: Midcentury Liberalism and the History of the Present

By Neil Jumonville | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Anticommunism and McCarthyism,
1945–1960

In the decade following the end of World War II, Commager was best known by the public as a vocal opponent of McCarthyism, and his struggle against McCarthyism as a civic intellectual helps illuminate some of the political and philosophical divisions in American liberalism at midcentury. It became particularly apparent, for example, that he held a more optimistic political view than many others in the liberal community and was more satisfied to talk about issues of freedom of speech rather than to discuss the benefits of various ideas and policies. As he demonstrated repeatedly during this period, he valued freedom for intellectual dissent more than national power and security derived from political toughness.

Yet why did an academic figure such as Commager, a member of that curiously detached profession of history, become so embroiled in political issues that he found himself the object of suspicion and criticism from friends and foes, publishers, writers, and colleagues? Why is it that one whose responsibility was to understand the remote past instead fought contemporary battles as a kind of unofficial leader against McCarthyism? Part of the answer, at least, resides in Commager's view of the relationship between the practice of history and American civic life. As a Jeffersonian liberal committed to civil liberties, the integrity of honest political dissent, intellectual freedom, and the benefits of an uncensored marketplace of ideas, Commager had a history of vigilance on issues of free speech before such became fashionable.

-99-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Henry Steele Commager: Midcentury Liberalism and the History of the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 328

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.