Archival Document Sets

Radicalism in American Politics

Radical politics favoring progressive change have a rich and dynamic history in the United States. The nation was born out of political movements that dared to challenge the authority of a government that lacked representation from consituents. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, radical politics continued to play an important role in the development of civil society across the country. Too often, however, radical political groups are viewed as deviations from the more traditional US political norm of two mainstream parties. In doing so, we often blur the important differences between radical groups and instead depict them as a unified, homogenous whole. Using primary sources, we can see how radical politics in the United States both deviate from the norm but also serve to emphasize specific social issues such as unemployment, racism, and social equality. 

This document set will approach issues of radicalism through the lens of the 1932 US presidential election. 

Written and selected by Joshua Morris as part of the NextGen scholars program.