江苏7位数开奖公告 www.2w1r.cn Herbert Croly
At the turn of the 20th century, Herbert Croly – as far as the accelerating world was concerned – was a man without a name. Painfully shy and without many friends, he was admitted to Harvard in 1886 as one of 96 "special students" who would not be eligible for a degree. Perhaps the world should have realized he would one day be reckoned with when was given the former room of newspaperman William Randolph Hearst, who was expelled from Harvard a year before Croly entered its halls. But Croly remained aloof through his long stay at Harvard, which had more promising sons to look after. However, when in 1909 Croly published his first and most remembered book, The Promise of American Life, he was instantly recognized as a great political thinker. Eager to recognize him as one of its own, Harvard gave him his bachelor’s degree soon after the jubilant reviews were printed.
Croly was born on Jan 23, 1869 and journalism was in his household, if not in his blood. His father, David Goodman Croly, immigrated to the United States from Ireland as a young boy and married Jane Cunningham, who journeyed to the states from England at age 12. Herbert Croly’s mother wrote for several newspapers under the name Jennie June and was an adamant feminist. Similarly, his father worked for several New York City newspapers and was a devout follower of the French philosopher Auguste Comte, a founder of sociology and positivism. In order to achieve progress, Comte created a Religion of Humanity that emphasized altruism and the destruction of organized religion. Comte’s teachings changed the way Herbert Croly looked at and envisioned life, but he did not devote himself to the Religion of Humanity. However, Croly’s belief that bureaucrats are good people who should be given enough power to improve the lives of their fellow citizens goes along with Comte’s teachings.
Croly admitted the dead Auguste Comte influenced how he envisioned living political systems. He wrote, "From my earliest years, it was his endeavor to teach me to understand and believe in the religion of Auguste Comte. Under such instruction it was not strange that in time I dropped instinctively into his mode of thinking."1 Still, there is no doubt that Croly’s positivism faded once he entered Harvard in 1886. He attended the school off-and-on, initially intending to become a philosophy teacher and taking classes with several notable professors, including William James, Josiah Royce and George Santayana.
Even so, it can be said with some assurance that Croly’s father had just as great an influence on him during his first few years at Harvard than did any of his professors. Croly later said, "We were very good correspondents one to another. I used to send him packets of 30 or 40 pages every other day, which he used to answer with marvelous regularity and unfailing kindness."2
Croly was somewhat of a loner during his time at Harvard, a time that some biographers refer to as his "blank years" because so little is known about what he really did there. Robert Morss Lovett, a longtime associate of Croly, would later write that "in the Harvard of the 90s Herbert Croly was alone as an example of an intellectual making politics his chief preoccupation, and I think he was lonely"3 When David Goodman Croly died in 1889, his son became even lonelier, but he inherited an interest in The Real Estate Record and Builder’s Guide, where he began writing articles on architecture. He was transferred to a sister publication, The Architectural Record in 1891, and married Louise Emory in 1892, the wife of an established Baltimore family. For unknown reasons, he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1893 and did not return to Harvard until 1895.
Somewhat abruptly, Croly gave up the idea of teaching philosophy in 1899 and decided instead to chase a career in journalism. He wrote regularly for the Architectural Record from 1900 to 1905, remaining on its associate editorial board until 1913. He also wrote freelance articles during this period, but after 1905, he spent a regimented four hours every morning completing the book he was to call The Promise of American Life. He rewrote the book in 1906, 1907, and 1908 and again in the early months of 1909, when it was finally published.
How long Croly had been thinking about writing such a book is unclear. He was not a politician and never ran for political office. As a journalist, he did not have any extensive experience in writing about political or even social issues. However, as The Promise of America Life demonstrated, he was well aware of the accelerating pace of the world and the changing politics in the United States. The book only sold about 7,500 copies and was by no means a bestseller, but important people in high places, including President Theodore Roosevelt, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Judge Learned Hand and Justice Felix Frank, read and were influenced by it. Of the book, one historian has wrote, "Whether or not the book was, as so many have claimed, a turning point in the Progressive movement, it was certainly a turning point in the life of Herbert Croly."4
Indeed, it was. Croly immediately earned the praise of bureaucrats and was brought into their circles as a man who could articulate their ideas and convey them to voters. At Judge Hand’s suggestion, Harvard awarded Croly a bachelor’s degree in 1910 "as of the class of 1890."
Whether Croly took his ideas of Progressivism from Roosevelt or whether Roosevelt took such ideas from Croly is a matter of intense historical debate. Two decades after its initial publication, Felix Frankfurter wrote that The Promise of American Life had "become a reservoir for all political writing after its publication. Roosevelt’s view of Nationalism was countered by Wilson’s New Freedom but both derived from Croly."5
Frankfurter probably overstates Croly’s influence. It would be foolish to deny that Croly articulated Roosevelt’s ideas in a way that even the great Progressive candidate could better understand them, but inaccurate to say he was responsible for the ideas themselves. According to one historian, "It seems that there was some influence from Croly on Roosevelt, but it is more clear that Roosevelt had earlier influence on Croly."6 Regardless of who influenced whom more, Roosevelt read The Promise of American Life, probably while he was an African hunting trip in 1909, and was affected by it. When Roosevelt returned from Africa, The Promise of American Life had been published, as well as a Croly article that examined the current state of politics that was published in the North American Review.7 Roosevelt was impressed by Croly’s work and he sent him a letter stating, "I shall use your ideas freely in speeches I intend to make. I know you won’t object to my doing so, because, my dear sir, I can see that your purpose is to do your share in any way for the betterment of our national life; that what you care for is to see this betterment secured."8 And appropriately, Roosevelt wrote a favorable review for Croly’s book for The Outlook in 1911.
Of course, Roosevelt had been trying to secure such betterment on his own well before Croly came along. In 1901, he appealed to the idea of the nation and nationalism in order to increase executive control. His aim, he said, was to bring the social elements of the newer, technological society under control, while at the same time protecting the rights of the people. Since the end of the Civil War, the pace of life had increased and it was necessary to make the acceleration constructive, rather than destructive. However, because Roosevelt used some of the terminology in The Promise of American Life, it is often overlooked that he earlier articulated Croly’s ideas. For instance, when he gave a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas on August 31, 1910, he used the term "New Nationalism," and later used the phrase as a title for one of his own books, even though it was first used in Croly’s book.9
So, what made The Promise of American Life so special? It certainly was not Croly’s repetitive and complicated writing style, perhaps an outgrowth of his love of architecture and perfect structure. Neither was it the author’s humble origins, which perhaps made readers skeptical of Croly’s ideas more than anything else. Croly himself said the main achievement of the book was simply that it introduced ideas already popular in Europe into the United States. Indeed, Winston Churchill’s Liberalism and the Social Problem was published in 1909 and was very similar to Croly’s.
But Herbert Croly did more than just introduce the ideas of other people to the American citizenry. He placed contemporary events into a historical context. He made his readers realize the American political system was a living thing that could change; as sure as a caterpillar can turn into a butterfly. Perhaps most important was his description of "The Promise" that America held for its people – that everyone has personal liberties that are to be protected, that anyone who works hard can earn a larger share of the collective wealth. He thought it was important that the government have more power and be more centralized so it could actively work on the people’s behalf to ensure this promise was realized.
The main topics and arguments of The Promise of American Life cannot all be considered here, but Croly examined such historical issues as the early battle between the Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians, the Jacksonians versus the Whigs, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War and the painful growing pains the United States underwent once the Union was saved.
For a writer so concerned with political divisions, it is natural to ask whether he was a Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, socialist or communist? But Croly was all and none of these things. He fits no political category. In very broad terms, he can be considered pro-Hamilton, who, compared to Jefferson, he considered, "much the finer man and much the sounder thinker and statesman."10 As far as contemporary politics was concerned, his discussion is mainly concerned with the activities of Theodore Roosevelt. In a later book named Progressive Democracy, Croly continued to support Roosevelt over the Wilson, who he considered to be a benevolent dictator of the Democratic Party.
That Croly focused so much of Roosevelt and usually sided with him politically indicates how similarly the two men regarded issues. Croly once said of Roosevelt, "He is the original and supreme Hamiltonian revivalist. I have just been reading his life of Gouveneur Morris, written about 1887, and have been amused to find how closely I merely followed after many of his judgments of the Federalist epoch."11
Croly rightfully believed the issues of equality and the distribution of wealth were threatening the solidarity of the American people. In an eloquent summation of the dilemma, he wrote, "In so far as equal rights are freely exercised, they are bound to result in inequalities; and these inequalities are bound to make for their own perpetuation, and so to provoke further discrimination wherever the principle (of equal rights) has been allowed to mean what it seems to mean. It has determined and encouraged its own violation."12 However, Croly was not always progressive as he is often labeled. Though asking for a fairer distribution of wealth, he rarely decried racism and largely ignored the issue of women’s suffrage. In The Promise of American Life, he wrote that Southern slaveholders were right "in believing that the Negroes were a race possessed of moral and intellectual qualities inferior to those of the white man."13
These are only a small smattering of issues Croly considered in The Promise of American Life, and even if he chose never to write another book, he had made a name for himself. But Croly continued to write and his second book, Marcus Alonzo Hanna: His Life and Work, was published in 1912. However, its value is questioned because Croly was paid by Hanna’s family to write it. For those who criticize him for taking such a job, it must be remembered that he had no regular income and needed to make a living. For his critics, however, the book on Marcus Hanna is a blemish on an otherwise perfect career. Even though Croly was not a supporter of Hanna, he wrote the book knowing the Hanna family would be able to read and censor it beforehand. Still, most would admit that it is a well-written biography and is of invaluable importance to political historians.
As the politicians were congratulating Croly on his second book, he was becoming increasingly involved in the election of 1912 that pitted the Bull Moose Roosevelt against the Republican incumbent William Howard Taft and the Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Croly became even closer to Roosevelt and actively worked on his behalf, but Wilson – a Progressive in his own right – won the election.
In 1913, Croly was invited to present Harvard’s Godkin Lectures. He gave lectures through the early months of 1914, when his talks were published in a book named Progressive Democracy. Like The Promise of American Life, Croly’s third book covered a long list of issues, but his most basic point was that the Progressivism of Wilson was flawed and should be improved. Of Wilson, he wrote, "His version of Progressivism, notwithstanding its immediately forward impulse, is scrupulously careful not to be too progressive."14
In Progressive Democracy, Croly predicted the decline of the party system and urged that more power be given to federal administrators. He also advocated political mechanisms such as referendum, initiative and recall. The reviews for Progressive Democracy were generally favorable, but the public was more impressed by Croly’s first book and frustrated by his idealism and lack of actual solutions to political problems. Although Progressive Democracy may not have been as loved as The Promise of American Life, it was a natural outgrowth of the first book. Indeed, Croly wrote to Roosevelt that he wished the two books had been combined into one. Once again, Roosevelt wrote a favorable review for Progressive Democracy that was published in The Outlook, but the two would soon break.
Before Progressive Democracy was published, Croly had been devoting much of his time to the creation of a weekly pro-Roosevelt magazine to be named The New Republic. The magazine was funded by Willard Straight, a Cornell graduate who had been a U.S. correspondent, diplomat, advisor to J.P. Morgan and who was a supporter of Roosevelt; and his wife Dorothy, the wealthy daughter of a financier and a friend of Roosevelt’s daughter, Ethel Derby. The couple was greatly impressed by The Promise of American Life. According to Dorothy, Croly told her husband "the real dream of his life was to have a journal of his own to edit"15
Croly got his wish. The Straight fortune financed The New Republic long after Croly died in 1930. The first issue appeared on November 7, 1914, just after the United States became involved in World War I. Its editorial staff included Walter Lippmann, Walter Weyl, Francis Hackett and Philip Littell. It sought to solve contemporary governmental problems and, in Croly’s words, "to make a radical social and political policy persuasive to an audience which is far less radical."16
Even though the magazine was not run or led by any one man, Walter Lippmann would later recall, "All editors were to be free and equal, though in fact Croly was the editor-in-chief." This was mostly because Croly had secured financing for the venture and was more willing than the other editors to devote his time to further the magazine’s success. Soon, such great writers as H.G. Wells, Roscoe Pound, Lewis Mumford and Conrad Aiken were regularly contributing to the magazine. The magazine continues to be published today.
Though generally siding with Roosevelt, the magazine criticized what it considered to be his unfair attack on Wilson’s policy toward Mexico. Roosevelt was furious and discontinued his friendship with Croly and his fellow editors, who had done so much to spread his political views. Lippmann would later say, "(Theodore Roosevelt) reproached us bitterly and never forgave us."17
In his later years, Croly became less concerned with Progressivism and more focused on "the ability of individuals and groups to bring about an improved quality of human relations by other than political means."18 He began to question the intrinsic good nature of people and dabbled in mysticism while continuing to write. However, Croly’s later waywardness from politics did not prevent people like Walter Lippmann from calling him "the first important political philosopher who appeared in America in the twentieth century."19 Indeed, Herbert Croly had made a name for himself.
Herbert Croly died in Santa Barbara, Calif. On May 17, 1930 after suffering several strokes. After his death, the loved and hated Franklin Delano Roosevelt implemented many of his Progressive ideas. Politicians, historians and students to this day continue to learn and appreciate the life and works of Croly, who many believe to be the most original political thinker the United States has ever seen.
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