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The Irreverent and Progressive Midwesterner George Norris

July 24, 2014

Buffalo Doug

PhD student Paul Putz, a Nebraskan, offers a nice post about a mostly-forgotten U.S. Senator from Nebraska: George Norris. Norris gained fame during his lifetime as an insurgent Republican during the Progressive Era (1900-1920). As Putz notes,

For an earlier generation of liberals, Norris was a saintly figure. His stubborn opposition to “monied interests,” his belief that the government could be a positive force for good in people’s lives, his reputation for integrity, and the fact that he remained a steadfast progressive throughout progressivism’s 1920s nadir captured the imagination of idealistic young Americans. In the 1950s, a panel of scholars put together by the U.S. Senate to determine the five most outstanding senators in American history voted Norris number one. In 1957, “John F. Kennedy” “wrote” Profiles in Courage, featuring Norris as one of his Courageous Eight U.S. senators.

Norris’s greatest hits are indeed impressive. He opposed Joe Cannon, J…

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