Left & Right in America

Peter Berkowitz and James W. Ceaser

Hertog Foundation | 2015

This course takes a close look at the two great rival partisan interpretations of liberal democracy in America. We trace the development of the left from the rise of progressivism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to the implementation of FDR’s New Deal in the second third of the twentieth century, its expansion in LBJ’s Great Society programs, and President Barack Obama’s ambitious domestic agenda designed to further expand government’s reach and responsibilities. To understand the right, we concentrate on the emergence in post-World War II America of several strands of conservative thought—libertarianism, social conservatism, and neoconservatism—and then consider these various strands as they receive expression in the speeches of President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush.

Photo by “Campaign Buttons” by L. Allen Brewer | Flickr, CC BY 2.0