24 September 2000

Listening to:  The Gipsy Kings, Tierra Gitana

Reading:  Herbert Croly, The Promise of American Life


Herbert Croly

I spent much of today reading Herbery Croly's The Promise of American Life.  I've never read Croly before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I was pleased to find quite a bit of useful stuff (for the dissertation).  Even though Croly comes along a little bit late in the Progressive movement, he is writing before the question is decided.  By the time Charles Beard (yesterday's topic) comes along, the questions have been decided, the Progressive intellectuals have defeated their adversaries, and a new constitutional paradigm has been established.  Between Croly and Beard, I have much of the progression in Progressive political/constitutional theory covered (still need to go back a little further than Croly).  Then I just need to show how the transformation was pursued practically in the courts, and how they came eventually to adopt the view of Progressive legal theorists and overturn the classical legal tradition in a manner that is misunderstood completely today (the former is the topic of my next chapter, the latter is the reason for the dissertation). 

Unfortunately, the Croly is going slowly.  Unlike other subfields of political philosophy, American political thought isn't usually particularly dense or time consuming, but because of the facts I've not dealt with Croly before  and I have a fairly specific set of questions I'm bringing to the text, this has been slow.  That, and I have taken frequent breaks to let my mind work on the text in the background.  It's hard to imagine reading someone like Croly for, say, four hours straight.

Overall, I'm pleased with the work I've gotten done over my 3-day weekend.  I think I will continue with the 4 10-hour day workweek, at least until I get this chapter done and take off on my backpacking trip in mid-October.  I can re-evaluate at that point.

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