National Affairs, Summer 2010
June 21, 2010
by William A. Schambra
A century ago, this ideal was a central tenet of the Progressive agenda — which sought, as Progressive icon Herbert Croly put it in 1909, the "subordination of the individual to the demand of a dominant and constructive national purpose." It was an important goal of the New Deal, which President Franklin Roosevelt described in 1933 as "extending to our national life the old principle of the local community." It was the essence of the liberal agenda of the 1960s, which President Lyndon Johnson called an effort to "turn unity of interest into unity of purpose, and unity of goals into unity in the Great Society." And it was at the core of Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency in 2008, which promised to overcome petty differences and, as Obama put it in one campaign speech, to "unite this nation around a common purpose, a higher purpose....To reaffirm that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes us one people, and one nation." . . .
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Senior Fellow William A. Schambra is the director of Hudson Institute's Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal.
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