A Century of Debate: Equality of Opportunity
June 1, 2023
“The dichotomy between liberty and equality has remained the question most relevant in the American experiment. Dr. Davenport and Dr. Lloyd give us the best chronological examination of the question.”
—J. R. Carman, founder, New Jersey Constitutional Republicans
Equality of Opportunity: A Century of Debate
When we advocate for equality of opportunity in the United States, what do we mean? Do we depend on our foundational principles for guidance, or should the federal government take a more active role in pushing for equity? Liberals and conservatives have been arguing this dilemma for more than a century. The historical debates offer illuminating background for the question: Where do we go from here?
Authors examine the following topics:
- How the framers of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution understood the notion of equality as it applied to America’s citizens
- How the ideals of opportunity were shaped by events in the nineteenth century, leading to the Progressive movement
- The impact of the Progressive ideas on policies of the twentieth century, including Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty
- The debate between Herbert Hoover and Roosevelt—as expressed through their speeches and writings—on their different approaches to the question of equality of opportunity
- Ronald Reagan’s response to Johnson’s Great Society and the conservative counterrevolution
- How the debates of previous centuries have shaped discussions today about social equity
CONTACT: Barbara Arellano: 650-725-5630, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hoover Institution Press is the publishing arm of the Hoover Institution. Dedicated to informing public policy decisions and communicating key ideas, the press publishes the works of Hoover’s fellows, working groups, and affiliated scholars. Concepts that were important to Herbert Hoover—private enterprise, personal freedom, representative government, peace, and safeguarding the American system—continue to animate our work. Areas emphasized are economics, national security, education, energy and the environment, health care, history, law and regulation, and political philosophy.