Modern liberalism in the United States

Modern liberalism in the United States, often simply referred to in the United States as liberalism, is a form of social liberalism found in American politics.[1] It is the dominant tendency within liberalism in the United States. It combines ideas of civil liberty and equality with support for social justice and a "checked-and-validated" market economy. Economically, modern liberalism opposes cuts to the social safety net and supports a role for government in reducing inequality, providing education, ensuring access to healthcare, regulating economic activity and protecting the natural environment.[2] This form of liberalism took shape in the 20th century United States as the voting franchise and other civil rights were extended to a larger class of citizens. Major examples of modern liberal policy programs include the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society.[3][4]

In the first half of the 20th century, both major American parties had a conservative and a liberal wing. The conservative northern Republicans and Southern Democrats formed the conservative coalition which dominated the Congress in the pre-Civil Rights era. As northern Democrats began to support civil rights and organized labor, white voters and politicians in the formerly "Solid South" became more Republican.[3][5] Since the 1960s, the Democratic Party has been considered liberal and the Republican Party has been considered conservative. As a group, "liberals" are referred to as left or center-left and "conservatives" as right or center-right.[6] Starting in the 21st century, there has also been a sharp division between liberals who tend to live in denser, more heterogeneous urban areas, conservatives who tend to live in less dense, more homogeneous rural communities, with suburban areas largely split between the two.[7][8]


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