Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotation

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Contents

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pp. vii-vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I am pleased to recognize those individuals and institutions that have aided and sustained the writing of this book. Helping me track down and access documents were a number of archivists and research librarians at Elizabethtown College’s High Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, ...

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Introduction: Searching for the Center

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pp. 1-10

One could be excused for thinking that moderation has no place in today’s polarized political culture. It has long been fashionable for such periodicals of note as the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the Washington Post to trumpet some variation of what one Post headline called in 2014, “The End of Moderates.” ...

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Part I: Patriot Kings

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pp. 11-12

The greatest dangers to American democracy once came from within. Before the Civil War, the country’s early radical right—New England’s ultra-Federalist elite and the secession-making southern plantocracy—questioned the constitutional arrangement negotiated in 1787. ...

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1. Between Aristocracy and Democracy: John Adams

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pp. 13-41

The moderate persuasion in American politics begins with John Adams. A man of the liberal right, he viewed with suspicion the nation’s emerging rule of the strong right, the dominant wing of the Federalist Party loyal to Alexander Hamilton. He condemned its vision of a small civil service elite holding both private wealth and state power as contrary to the self-governing spirit of the Revolution. ...

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2. Up from Federalism: George Cabot

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pp. 42-69

After canonizing the lives and legacies of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, Federalism ultimately turned to Salem statesman George Cabot for leadership. On no fewer than three occasions did he challenge the secessionary exchanges that circulated among a small but influential number of disenchanted New Englanders looking to leave the Union. ...

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3. Reckoning with the Original Sunbelt Right: John Quincy Adams

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pp. 70-90

Henry Adams’s generous summation of his “good grandpapa[’s]” contributions to American political life is all the more striking considering John Quincy’s poor historical timing. A northerner and a nationalist, the elder Adams forged his career in the long shadow of a contentious southern, states’ rights ascendancy. ...

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4. The Jeffersonian Origins of the GOP: Abraham Lincoln

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pp. 91-112

John Quincy’s resistance to southern rule constituted an important if transitory phase in the antislavery crusade. As a Patriot King, as an Adams, he raised hell from on high, a cut above the crisis below. But no more could New England’s patrician class expect to collect upon the public’s fidelity to the “better sort”; ...

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Part II: Progressives

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pp. 113-114

Following the Civil War, a new mass society emerged in America, energized by corporations, unions, and a slowly expanding national government. Of these large-scale organizations, the great industrial-financial nexus proved to be the most powerful. ...

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5. The Last Patrician: Henry Adams

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pp. 115-131

Following the collapse of the southern Confederacy, the rise of industrial capitalism remade America. Once the warm commercial center of artisans, planters, and merchants, the country now moved toward a far more complex economic identity built on manufacturing and machinery. Along the way, an opportunistic knot of moneymen rose to prominence and captured the cultural imagination. ...

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6. Between Privilege and Poverty: Theodore Roosevelt

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pp. 132-149

In an age defined by industrial development, Theodore Roosevelt embraced a romantic conception of life that briefly abetted his mastery of American politics. The nation’s first significant political leader since Lincoln, he ushered in the modern presidency by piloting the twentieth-century social welfare state. ...

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7. Losing the Square Deal Center: William Howard Taft

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pp. 150-172

In 1948 the distinguished Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. asked fifty-five colleagues from around the country to rate the nation’s presidents according to a five-sort sliding scale running from “great” to “failure.” Since then, some dozen polls of U.S. presidents have followed. Although a consensus has gelled on a handful of heroes (Washington, Lincoln, and FDR quickly come to mind) ...

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Part III: Pragmatists

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pp. 173-174

A new kind of central authority arose in the twentieth-century United States—the welfare-warfare republic. Pledged to a politics of prosperity, it offered both guns and butter, defending the “Free World” abroad while maintaining the reform spirit of the New Deal at home. ...

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8. “Me-Too” Republicanism Meets the New Right: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.

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pp. 175-201

In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, the long post–Civil War run of Republican Party rule came to an end. And with it expired the old American political tradition, defined by the historian Richard Hofstadter as “a belief in the rights of property, the philosophy of economic individualism, [and] the value of competition.”1 ...

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9. West of Center: The Bushes

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pp. 202-232

From 1952 to 2009 three generations of Bushes wielded more influence over a longer period of time than any political family since the Adamses. Aside from a slew of sinecureships—chairman of the Republican National Committee, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, director of Central Intelligence, and so on—they captured House and Senate seats, ...

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10. After Liberalism: Carter, Clinton, Obama

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pp. 233-263

In the last decades of the twentieth century the Democratic Party struggled to honor its still-resonant FDR past without losing its future. Born in reaction to the old pre–market crash consensus, modern liberalism comprised a formidable coalition of interest groups linking progressive elites with mass constituencies. ...

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Conclusion: Holding the Center

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pp. 264-268

The Democratic Party’s successful run in recent national elections raises the question: Can Republicans advance a fresh agenda that beats with the pulse of the culture and is still amenable to the GOP’s clashing wings? Can it, in other words, meld the dissonant voices of the party’s moralizers and modernizers into a coherent whole? ...

Notes

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pp. 269-286

Bibliography

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pp. 287-304

Index

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pp. 305-336