Publisher:
N/A

Publication Date:
05/01/2023

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
9780997080544

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
N/A

THE GREAT FLIP

By Donald J. Fraser

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IR Rating:
4.8
Thoroughly researched and supported with numerous citations, THE GREAT FLIP is an incisive, compellingly readable work that offers a welcome refresher on the nuanced, often paradoxical development of American political thought.
IR Approved

In THE GREAT FLIP, historian Donald J. Fraser explores the often surprising history and origins of modern American political positions.

In today’s political landscape, terms like “liberal” and “conservative” seem like fixed absolutes—labels that have defined the warring schools of thought throughout American political history. In THE GREAT FLIP (The Shifting Views of Liberals and Conservatives on Active Government), historian Donald J. Fraser challenges this assumption, steering readers away from simplistic dichotomies and offering a nuanced understanding of “liberal” and “conservative” as fluid constructs capable of transformation and reinvention.

Fraser, whose previous books include The Emergence of One American Nation and The Growth and Collapse of One American Nation, traces the origins of America’s political narrative to the era of British colonial rule, when the tyranny of monarchy instilled in the nascent American psyche a profound aversion to centralized power and governmental interference. The rivalry between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton embodies the conflict between two fundamental perspectives on the role of government—whether government should take an active part in ensuring its people’s welfare and equality, or whether it should instead defend liberty and self-governance. Jefferson’s optimistic view of human nature led him to oppose a strong federal government (“It is always oppressive,” as Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1787), while Hamilton took a far dimmer view of humanity and felt that a strong government was necessary to curb our worst impulses. Jefferson’s perspective, Fraser writes, was the “liberal” position of the time, while Hamilton was the “conservative” of the pair.

Fraser goes on to show how later presidents interpreted these differing approaches, from Abraham Lincoln’s attempt to reconcile the two by using aggressive government action to achieve and defend political equality to Franklin Roosevelt’s vision of an activist, progressive government and Ronald Reagan’s reactionary shift away from “big government” interference. The Great Depression and FDR’s New Deal may have been the tipping point that led to liberals and conservatives trading places; one of Fraser’s key assertions, however, is that the ideological “flip” was not a singular, dramatic event but rather the result of a sequence of significant historical phenomena. From the disillusionment spawned by World War I to the existential crisis of the Great Depression and the watershed moment of Roosevelt’s New Deal, Fraser meticulously chronicles these ideological metamorphoses, laying bare the mutable nature of political belief systems.

Thoroughly researched and supported with numerous citations, Donald J. Fraser’s THE GREAT FLIP is an incisive, compellingly readable work that offers a welcome refresher on the nuanced, often paradoxical development of American political thought.

~Edward Sung for IndieReader

Publisher:
N/A

Publication Date:
05/01/2023

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
9780997080544

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
N/A

THE GREAT FLIP

By Donald J. Fraser

Donald J. Fraser’s THE GREAT FLIP takes a scholarly historic view of political parties and the ideologies that have essentially switched in the time since they were founded. Heavily cited, offering clearly identified bias, and with anecdotes and explanations for party leaders’ governing choices, this deep dive into the role of government is an interesting read, ideal for any student of history, politics, or reader interested in the direction of the nation in the decades to come.