In Illiberal Reformers, Thomas Leonard reexamines the economic progressives whose ideas and reform agenda underwrote the Progressive Era dismantling of laissez-faire and the creation of the regulatory welfare state, which, they believed, would humanize and rationalize industrial capitalism. But not for all. Academic social scientists such as Richard T. Ely, John R. Commons, and Edward A. Ross, together with their reform allies in social work, charity, journalism, and law, played a pivotal role in establishing minimum-wage and maximum-hours laws, workmen's compensation, antitrust regulation, and other hallmarks of the regulatory welfare state. But even as they offered uplift to some, economic progressives advocated exclusion for others, and did both in the name of progress. Leonard meticulously reconstructs the influence of Darwinism, racial science, and eugenics on scholars and activists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, revealing a reform community deeply ambivalent about America's poor. Illiberal Reformers shows that the intellectual champions of the regulatory welfare state proposed using it not to help those they portrayed as hereditary inferiors but to exclude them.
Thomas C. Leonard is research scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, where he is also lecturer in the Department of Economics.
More about this book
- Winner of the 2017 Joseph J. Spengler Best Book Prize, History of Economics Society
- Finalist for the 2017 Hayek Prize, The Manhattan Institute
- One of Bloomberg View’s Great History Books of 2016
Other Books Written by this Author(s)
- Thomas C. Leonard
Shopping Cart Options
For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia
For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan
Need textbooks? View our textbook site.
Teaching Professors: To request a print examination copy for course consideration, please visit: Ingram Academic. Inspection copies are only available to verified university faculty. Some restrictions apply.
To request an electronic inspection copy for course use consideration, please visit one of the following services to submit your digital examination request online:
Princeton University Press
41 William Street
Princeton, New Jersey 08540 USA
- PUP Blog