In Search of Canadian Liberalism

Paperback | August 7, 2013

byFrank H. Underhill, Kenneth Dewar

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Historian Frank Underhill's collection of essays on Canadian history and politics, written over the course of his career, won the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-fiction in 1960. These informed, often contentious essays shine a probing light into the political tradition in Canada,from the nineteenth-century Family Compact to the government of Louis St. Laurent. Underhill's collection shows at once a remarkable consistency as well as a fascinating evolution over time. This new edition is introduced by Kenneth C. Dewar, professor emeritus of history at Mount Saint VincentUniversity, who provides incisive new insight into Frank H. Underhill - the man, his thinking, and his lasting influence.Underhill was a leading historian and activist for many decades. He taught history and politics at the University of Saskatchewan from 1914 to 1927, becoming an early supporter of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the forerunner of the NDP), drafting the Regina Manifesto. He was drawn tosocialism as a form of democratic idealism, following the ideal of empowering the people in the face of entrenched interests. In 1927 he began teaching history at the University of Toronto. Underhill became part of the drive for a national culture that would match Canada's economic andconstitutional development, including the growth of such new groups as the Canadian Historical Association, and publications like the Canadian Forum. Aligned with the Confederation poets and the Group of Seven, Underhill was unsentimental, anti-romantic, and keen to break with what was seen by manyyounger intellectuals as the dead hand of tradition. Later he would move to the political centre, but never ceding his role as critic, and ever in search of a politics of ideas and radical energy. No surprise that his outspoken views often brought Underhill into conflict with various forms of theestablishment, even at times from the political left. Underhill's essays are in the tradition of Michel de Montaigne, Samuel Johnson, and Edmund Burke, employing a personal voice and relative informality, as well as an open-ended, witty, and free-flowing style, unlike the quasi-scientific detachment of the academic essay. He can be sardonic, ironic,even cynical. Carl Berger found that Underhill can be driven to "extravagant ridicule by the very momentum of his rhetoric," but Underhill's ability to synthesize ideas from the past to effect change in the present is unparalleled and pushed Canadian history and politics towards greater dynamism.This witty and absorbing collection moves with a vigorous pace through the past and present of Canadian politics, a fresh breath of vitality that would open new doors in our national consciousness.

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Historian Frank Underhill's collection of essays on Canadian history and politics, written over the course of his career, won the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-fiction in 1960. These informed, often contentious essays shine a probing light into the political tradition in Canada,from the nineteenth-century Family Compact to ...

Frank H. Underhill (1889-1971) was a Canadian historian, political theorist, and activist. He was a professor at the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan, and Carleton University, and a founder of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the forerunner of the NDP. His illustrious but contentious career included a nea...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.76 inPublished:August 7, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199009198

ISBN - 13:9780199009190

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Wynford EditionIntroduction to the First EditionPart I: The Liberal Past1. Some Reflections on the Liberal Tradition in Canada2. The Development of National Political Parties in Canada3. Some Aspects of Upper Canadian Radical Opinion4. Political Ideas of the Upper Canada Reformers 1867-18785. Goldwin SmithPart II: Political Controversy in the 1930s and 1940s1. On Professors and Politics2. A Letter to the Winnipeg Free Press on Academic Freedom3. W. L. Mackenzie King3 a. The Close of an Era; Twenty-five Years of Mr. Mackenzie King3 b. Twenty-five Years as Prime Minister3 c. Liberalism a la King3 d. The End of the King Era3 e. Concerning Mr. King4. J. W. Dafoe4 a. A Reply by J. W. Dafoe5. J. S. Woodsworth6. The Party System in Canada7. The Conception of a National Interest8. Keep Canada out of War9. The Canadian Party System in Transition10. Random Remarks on Socialism and FreedomPart III: The Calm of the 1950s1. Notes on the Massey Report2. Canada and the Canadian Question, 19543. Canadian Liberal Democracy in 19554. The Winnipeg Declaration of the C.C.F.5. Political Stagnation in Canada, 19566. Canada and the North Atlantic Triangle7. The University and PoliticsAppendixIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is a provocative, stimulating, and beautifully written book. . . . It is a fitting testament of one of the great Canadians of our time." --Mason Wade, The American Historical Review