Northern Illinois University Press

Crusading Liberal

Paul H. Douglas of Illinois

Roger Biles

"A well-researched biography that will be of value to scholars interested in the evolution of social and economic policies from the 1930s through the late 1960s."—The Journal of American History

"Provides an important vantage point for viewing the legislative issues and struggles that both shaped and constrained liberalism as a reform ideology in the postwar decades."—EH.NET

"Carefully researched and judiciously written ... advances our understanding of the man and his times."—Chicago Tribune

A lifelong crusader for society's powerless, Senator Paul Douglas championed reform and helped to bring civil rights issues to the forefront of mid-twentieth-century American politics. During his eighteen years in the U.S. Senate, his advocacy of liberal causes brought him national recognition. In the eyes of many, Douglas embodied the very ideals of the "Great Society."

A man of conscience and a stubborn defender of his core principles, Douglas was nonetheless a patient legislator, and his fight to ensure equal rights for African Americans lasted more than a decade. His fierce independence won public respect but often strained relationships with key party leaders, including Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, and Lyndon Johnson.

Covering the full span of Douglas's life—from his youth and early work at Hull House in Chicago to his leadership in the Senate—Crusading Liberal illuminates the life and times of the man Martin Luther King Jr. called "the greatest of all senators." This highly readable biography illustrates the struggle to provide equal opportunity and protection under law to all Americans.

(2002) 266 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-304-3
cloth $38.50

Roger Biles is author of five other books, including Richard J. Daley and A New Deal for the American People. He is Professor of History at East Carolina University.

Table of Contents

1. Professor and Social Activist
2. Into the Political Arena
3. Precocious Freshman Senator
4. Politics in the Age of McCarthy
5. The Civil Rights Movement in the Senate
6. Undaunted Crusader for Civil Rights
7. Senator with Ideas
8. On Behalf of the Great Society
9. After the Senate
10. Liberal Crusades
Bibliographical Essay

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-304-3
cloth $38.50