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Populism and the Second Voice of American Politics: Wilson C. McWilliams as Democratic Theorist

Populism and the Second Voice of American Politics: Wilson C. McWilliams as Democratic Theorist Populism and the Second Voice of American Politics: Wilson C. McWilliams as Democratic Theorist d er ek w. m. bar ker Democratic movements for citizen control over large-scale impersonal systems have a rich, if marginalized, history in the American political tra- dition. Populist movements in particular, including but not limited to the People’s Party of the late nineteenth century, have given voice to citizen con- cerns with the concentration of power in both the market system and gov- ernment. With confidence in government at an all time low, and levels of economic inequality comparable to those of the Gilded Age, conditions are ripe for a new wave of populist politics. This populism oer ff s the best chance in recent years to inject a new sense of energy into American politics, but also appears vulnerable to the rage and extremism that have plague -d histor ical populist movements. In this essay, I engage with the writings of Wilson C. McWilliams (1933–2005), an authority on alternative political currents in America’s past, to provide historical perspective into populist movements and their prospects for the future. Fortunately, two new volumes have compiled McWilliams’ previously uncollected work, Redeeming Democracy in America and e http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Populism and the Second Voice of American Politics: Wilson C. McWilliams as Democratic Theorist

The Good Society , Volume 21 (2) – Jan 3, 2012

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-9731

Abstract

Populism and the Second Voice of American Politics: Wilson C. McWilliams as Democratic Theorist d er ek w. m. bar ker Democratic movements for citizen control over large-scale impersonal systems have a rich, if marginalized, history in the American political tra- dition. Populist movements in particular, including but not limited to the People’s Party of the late nineteenth century, have given voice to citizen con- cerns with the concentration of power in both the market system and gov- ernment. With confidence in government at an all time low, and levels of economic inequality comparable to those of the Gilded Age, conditions are ripe for a new wave of populist politics. This populism oer ff s the best chance in recent years to inject a new sense of energy into American politics, but also appears vulnerable to the rage and extremism that have plague -d histor ical populist movements. In this essay, I engage with the writings of Wilson C. McWilliams (1933–2005), an authority on alternative political currents in America’s past, to provide historical perspective into populist movements and their prospects for the future. Fortunately, two new volumes have compiled McWilliams’ previously uncollected work, Redeeming Democracy in America and e

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Jan 3, 2012

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