chapter  XI
Government and Liberty
ByCharler Merriam, Sidney A. Pearson
Pages 33

The early Fathers looked theoretically upon all government with suspicion. They believed that the less government the more liberty, the more government the less liberty. During the next generation the earlier individualism was intensified by the frontier conditions under which American life expanded and developed. Theoretically individualism was reflected in the writings of Emerson, Thoreau and the group in New England known as the 'transcendentalists', who at the same time, however, were humanitarians, not averse to communal action. Many collectivist experiments were made during this period. The discussion of liberty centered around the institution of slavery. The individualistic theory developed during this period was largely a re-statement of the earlier doctrines applied with little change to new conditions. In the field of state government, the most notable advance toward a social-political policy has been made in the field of labor legislation.