Freedom in not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment.
—Henry Steele Commager in Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent
Henry Steele Commager (1902–1998) was an American historian. As one of the most active and prolific liberal intellectuals of his time, with 40 books and 700 essays and reviews, he helped define modern liberalism in the United States.In the 1940s and 1950s, Commager was noted for his campaigns against McCarthyism and other abuses of government power. With his Columbia University colleague Allan Nevins, Commager helped to organize academic support for Adlai E. Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, and John F. Kennedy in 1960. He opposed the Vietnam War and was an outspoken critic of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan and what he viewed as their abuses of presidential power.
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