The conventional wisdom suggests that moderates matter little. In her new book, Why We Fight: Congress and the Politics of World War II, Nancy Beck Young proves otherwise. Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman faced a fractious Congress riven by hardcore ideologues, circumstances that empowered moderates—from both parties—to cut deals on economic but not social justice policies. The dominant patterns for postwar politics emerged with liberalism seeming less oriented toward the welfare state and more to the vital center warfare state.
Nancy Beck Young is Professor and Chair of the History Department at University of Houston. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995 and has held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies. Young wrote Why We Fight: Congress and the Politics of World War II (2013); Lou Henry Hoover: Activist First Lady (2004); and Wright Patman: Populism, Liberalism, and the American Dream (2000).
The Washington History Seminar, a joint venture of the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, meets at 4 p.m. in the 6th Floor Moynihan Boardroom at the Wilson Center in the Ronald Reagan Building, 13th and Pennsylvania, NW, Federal Triangle Metro Stop. Reservations are requested because of limited seating: WHS@wilsoncenter.org
The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for its support.