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Conservation and the Continuity of American Liberalism, 1941-1953

Koppes, Clayton R. (1977) Conservation and the Continuity of American Liberalism, 1941-1953. Social Science Working Paper, 174. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Conservation during the liberal era of 19333-1953 was characterized by paradox. Both the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman administrations ranked conservation among their most important domestic programs. But the Truman administration departed sharply from, and even reversed, the two distinctive elements of the New Deal conservation program--structural awareness and balance between development and preservation. By 1953, the liberal conservation program more nearly resembled the putative conservative Dwight D. Eisenhower administration than that of the New Deal. The paradox of a liberal administration overturning the legacy of its liberal predecessor represents a major problem in the history of conservation. And because of the importance of conservation to the liberal domestic program from 1933 to 1953, this episode also raises questions about the continuity of liberalism from the New Deal through the Fair Deal. An explanation of this paradox, and what it may suggest for an understanding of liberalism, is the subject of this essay. The strategy of this essay is to examine key New Deal conservation programs in the federal agency with the broadest conservation program, the Department of the Interior, and to compare briefly the liberal conservation program at the end of the Truman administration with that of the Eisenhower regime. This essay will also relate the shifts of conservation to some changes in politics and ideology and suggest modifications in prevailing interpretations of liberalism.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:Revised. Original dated to August 1977. Not for quotation or reproduction without author's permission.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:174
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171024-151615811
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82631
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:24 Oct 2017 22:33
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:56

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