Limited Government in the Liberal Tradition

  • Juliet A. Williams


In the United States, the close of the twentieth century will be remembered as a time of popular revolt against big government. Skillfully playing to a public mood of distrust, the Republican Party won a stunning victory in the Congressional elections of 1994, threatening the end of the era of political viability for politicians associated with welfare state initiatives having origins in the New Deal. Throughout the 1990s, many of the most successful candidates for office organized their campaigns around a seemingly oxymoronic strategy—running for public office by running against government. Following the Republican victory, the so-called New Democrats scrambled to update their image. Leading the charge, a resilient President Bill Clinton reversed course after the humiliating defeat of his ambitious national health care initiative, and was soon to be heard issuing the proud declaration that “the era of big government is over.”1 The ease with which Clinton executed his about face—effortlessly appropriating Republican antigovernment rhetoric—stands as a powerful testament to the profoundly bipartisan nature of public suspicion of government in the United States.


Liberal Theorist Judicial Review Political Theorist Limited Government Individual Liberty 
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© Juliet A. Williams 2005

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  • Juliet A. Williams

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