To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party

To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party

by Heather Cox Richardson
To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party

To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party

by Heather Cox Richardson


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From the New York Times bestselling author of Democracy Awakening, “the most comprehensive account of the GOP and its competing impulses” (Los Angeles Times)

When Abraham Lincoln helped create the Republican Party on the eve of the Civil War, his goal was economic opportunity for all Americans. Yet the party quickly became mired in an identity crisis. Would it be the party of democratic ideals? Or the party of moneyed interests?

In To Make Men Free, acclaimed historian Heather Cox Richardson traces the shifting ideology of the Republican Party from the antebellum era to the Great Recession. While progressive Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower revived Lincoln’s vision and expanded the government, their opponents appealed to Americans’ latent racism and xenophobia to regain political power, linking taxation and regulation to redistribution and socialism. In the modern era, the schism within the Republican Party has grown wider, pulling the GOP ever further from its founding principles.

Now with a new epilogue that reflects on the Trump era and what is likely to come after it, To Make Men Free is a sweeping history of the party that was once considered America’s greatest political hope, but now lies in disarray.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541600621
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 11/23/2021
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 116,826
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Heather Cox Richardson is an American historian and professor of history at Boston College. Her daily newsletter, Letters from an American, has over a half million subscribers. The author of Democracy AwakeningHow the South Won the Civil War, and Wounded Knee, she splits her time between Boston and Maine.

Table of Contents


1. The Founding: The West as a Land of Promise
2. 1854
3. Republicans and the Slave Power
4. A Republican World View
5. Government of the People
6. Government for the People
7. The Party of Loyalty
8. Government by the People
9. Creating a Free Labor Nation
10. Lincoln’s Vision Destroyed
11. Shall Not Perish from the Earth
12. Republicans or Radicals?
13. Corruption and Cowboys: The Republican Party Splits
14. Communism!
15. Republicans and Big Business
16. Equality or Empire?
17. Keeping the Country Republican
18. Making the Depression Work
19. The March of the Flag
20. Republicans Become “Liberals”
21. Roosevelt Stands with Lincoln
22. The Red Scare and Calvin Coolidge
23. The Business of America is Business, 1921-1928
24. The End of an Era
25. Republicans and the New Deal
26. A New Republican Vision
27. The Birth of Movement Conservatism
28. The Second Reconstruction
29. Movement Conservatives Capture the GOP
30. Reagan
31. The Ending: The West as an Idea


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