Lizabeth Cohen

Lizabeth Cohen, chair of the history department at Harvard University, is the author of Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 and A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America.

Recent Articles

Team of Rivals Redux

How four men and one woman, with very different backgrounds and views, shaped the New Deal.

Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days that Created Modern America by Adam Cohen, Penguin Press, 372 pages, $29.95 The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor and his Moral Conscience by Kirstin Downey, Doubleday, 458 pages, $35.00 Obama-watching has become a new national -- even international -- sport. First, all eyes were glued to his miraculous triumph over seven opponents in the primaries, followed by a remarkable victory over John McCain. Next came "picking a Cabinet" as Americans witnessed a selection process touted for careful vetting descend into allegations of financial misconduct, tax evasion, and conflicts of interest. Now attention has turned to Obama's behind-the-scenes work with his inner circle as he tackles the biggest challenge of all -- a deepening depression. For months, commentators have likened Obama's situation to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's when he took office in 1933. Both inherited a failing economy...

Voting Alone

Alan Brinkley has done an admirable job thinking through why George W. Bush won. I particularly agree with his analysis of the damaged state of the Democratic Party's infrastructure and aim here to deepen our understanding of what needs fixing. Let me start with myself as one type of Kerry supporter to illustrate the problem. I'm not proud of it, but my husband and I spend most of our waking hours working, leaving little time for any associational life. Free time is reserved for our two teenage children. We participate in no organized religion, belong to few organizations outside of professional ones, and barely sustain ties to the town we live in. Our political activism mostly involves writing checks to liberal groups; our community consists of friends, co-workers, and family. We are charter members of Robert Putnam's “bowling alone” crowd. Looking back at Franklin Delano Roosevelt's landslide victory of 1936, made possible by the entrance of new first- and second-generation...