The New Democrat Online

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democracy

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wendell Willkie 1940 Presidential Election: Defining Classical Liberalism for the United States



The 1940 US Presidential Election was interesting in a few ways, it was the closest in which President Franklin Rossevelt came to actually losing. Even though he still won over 400 Electoral Votes and 54% of the Popular Vote but Wendel Willkie represented a true contrast to President Rossevelt. A Classical Liberal Republican and no I'm not joking about that against what most people consider to be a Progressive Democrat in FDR. A Liberal in Wendell Willkie who was once a Democrat who supported Civil Rights for all Americans well before it ever became popular, who supported President Woodrow Wilson's. Liberal Internationalist Foreign Policy but switched and became a Republican during FDR's New Deal, because he saw all of these new taxes and new Social Insurance programs run by the Federal Government as infringements on Individual Freedom. And back in the 1930s the Republican Party was a Classical Conservative Party, that was against the New Deal and also supported Civil Rights before a lot of Democrats. Thats what Liberalism was about back in the 1930s and 1940s and to me as a Liberal, is what Liberalism is about today. Protecting Individual Freedom for the people who already have it and expanding Individual Freedom for the people who don't have it but deserve it.

FDR's version of Liberalism at least as it relates to the economy, you can't credibly call FDR a Liberal on Social Issuess, he locked up German, Italian and Japanese Americans. During World War II, because of their ethnicity or didn't care about Civil Rights, FDR was certainly a Liberal on Foreign Policy and I give him credit for that. But I would argue that FDR wasn't even a Liberal on Economic Policy, even though he is of course famous for the New Deal. But more of a Progressive or Social Democrat on Economic Policy which was a different thing but Wendel Willkie was the real thing, someone who was against the New Deal and creating a Welfare State in America, someone who believed in Individual Freedom across the board. And believed in empowering people who don't have that Freedom yet because the lack the skills to get it, who should be empowered to get that. And that the Private Sector should play a major role there, instead of government just trying to take care of people.

These are some the differences between Liberalism and Progressivism and they generally relate to government. And what it should do for people with their own money, Progressives tend to believe that government should have a lot of that money to take care of people. Liberals want Americans to be able to keep most of their money in order to take care of themselves and empower people to get the Individual Freedom that they don't currently have.