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Lawrence Goodwyn, RIP


The great U.S. historian Lawrence Goodwyn has passed. The author of the single best book even written on the Populists, Democratic Promise, The Populist Movement in America (as well as the shorter version, The Populist Moment), Goodwyn made the concerns of these impoverished 19th century farmers central to the response and resistance to the rise of rapacious Gilded Age capitalism. He also helped shift the conversation about the Populists away from the condescension of Richard Hofstadter. Instead of a bunch of intolerant yokels, Goodwyn shows the Populists as the continuance of a working-class rural democratic culture challenging the overwhelming control and oppression of an intolerant and thieving time.

I’ve never read Goodwyn book on Poland’s Solidarity movement, but I respect someone who seeks to take their insights about democratic uprisings and compare them to movements abroad.


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