Social democracy and the people
in Making social democrats
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This chapter provides a dilemma right at the heart of historical and contemporary progressivism, in case the role of 'the people' in the furtherance of progress or social democracy. Historians in the past quarter-century have displayed growing interest in how British social democrats, as well as liberals and Conservatives, responded to the challenges of the arrival of democracy in 1918. For the historian, this meeting between social democracy and the people fascinates as an ongoing, evolving encounter between political ideas and idealism on the one hand, and the realities of the human condition on the other. Social democracy at its best sought a middle way between the two, in which good character and improved social environment, individual endeavour and state support were harmonized. An important indicator of when social democrats have struggled in their relationship with the people is their tendency to reduce politics to supposedly malign or betraying leaders.

Making social democrats

Citizens, mindsets, realities: Essays for David Marquand


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