The Lost History of Liberalism

From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The changing face of the liberal creed from the ancient world to today

The Lost History of Liberalism challenges our most basic assumptions about a political creed that has become a rallying cry - and a term of derision - in today's increasingly divided public square. Taking listeners from ancient Rome to today, Helena Rosenblatt traces the evolution of the words "liberal" and "liberalism", revealing the heated debates that have taken place over their meaning.

In this timely and provocative book, Rosenblatt debunks the popular myth of liberalism as a uniquely Anglo-American tradition centered on individual rights. She reveals that it was the French Revolution that gave birth to liberalism and Germans who transformed it. Only in the mid-20th century did the concept become widely known in the United States - and then, as now, its meaning was hotly debated. 

Liberals were originally moralists at heart. They believed in the power of religion to reform society, emphasized the sanctity of the family, and never spoke of rights without speaking of duties. It was only during the Cold War and America's growing world hegemony that liberalism was refashioned into an American ideology focused so strongly on individual freedoms.

Today, we still can't seem to agree on liberalism's meaning. In the United States, a "liberal" is someone who advocates big government, while in France, big government is contrary to "liberalism". Political debates become befuddled because of semantic and conceptual confusion. The Lost History of Liberalism sets the record straight on a core tenet of today's political conversation and lays the foundations for a more constructive discussion about the future of liberal democracy.

©2018 Princeton University Press (P)2018 Tantor
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Educative and informative

This was a great information about Liberalism. it feels like I have read 10 books in one. Without the opinionated comments about Liberalism.

3 people found this helpful

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Narrator made the history of liberalism sexy

I love this narrator's voice and love the way she delivers the prose typical of academic nonfiction. Many narrator's read in an elevated, almost arrogant tone for "serious" political work. That approach is annoying. I wish this narrator did more nonfiction!

1 person found this helpful