Herbert David Croly (January 23, 1869 - May 17, 1930) was a liberal political author. He was born in New York City to Jane Cunningham Croly and David Goodman Croly. His mother wrote for the New York World and edited Demorest's Monthly. His father was a reporter for the New York Herald and the New York World.
Croly began his studies at the City College of New York in 1884. In 1886 he enrolled at Harvard University, but left in June 1888 without receiving a degree. He became editor of the Architectural Record from 1900 to 1913. In 1914, he co-founded The New Republic with Walter Lippmann, a journal still published today. He took the position of editor from the founding until his death in 1930.
In 1892 he married Louise Emory of Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1909 his book, The Promise of American Life, was published. This book is said to "offer a manifesto of Progressive beliefs" which "anticipated the transition from competitive to corporate capitalism and from limited government to the welfare state".
The book, which discusses the historical evolution of American society, includes analysis of slavery and slave-holders, corporations and unions, centralization and democracy, and individual as well as national purpose. Croly recognized the changes being brought about by America's late-19th century industrialization and stated:
- It is new conditions which are forcing Americans to choose between the conception of their national Promise as a process and an ideal.
Croly's work influenced Theodore Roosevelt (who borrowed the "new nationalism" slogan), Woodrow Wilson, and the architects of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. In 1985 historian David Levy published the first biography of Croly, Herbert Croly and the New Republic.
- "The popular will cannot be taken for granted, it must be created."
- "Democracy may mean something more than a theoretically absolute popular government, but it assuredly cannot mean anything less."
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