Fighting Liberal


Fighting Liberal

The Autobiography of George W. Norris

Second Edition

George W. Norris
Foreword by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
New introduction by Bob Kerrey

480 pages
12 illustrations


November 2009


$23.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Though George Norris was born and grew up in Ohio, he headed west after earning his law degree and set up practice in Nebraska, eventually settling in McCook. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1902 and the Senate in 1912, Norris was a Republican for most of his life but headed a wing called the Progressives, who believed the government should be more responsive to the needs of ordinary citizens. Norris believed it his duty to vote according to conscience even if that sometimes conflicted with party affiliation or popular sentiment. Beyond personal integrity, Norris also left a considerable legacy of achievements: he promoted the nonpartisan one-house Unicameral in Nebraska, led the effort to create the Tennessee Valley Authority, and sponsored the Rural Electrification Act. Fighting Liberal is Norris’s account of his amazing and admirable life from the early impoverished years that informed his populist philosophy to his career in government, where he made great contributions to the nation.

Author Bio

George W. Norris (1861–1944) served his Nebraska district in the House of Representatives for ten years and represented the state in the U.S. Senate from 1913 to 1943.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (1917–2007) was a historian and author who won the Pulitzer Prize twice.
Bob Kerrey was governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987 and represented the state in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2001. He is president of the New School in New York City.


“[Fighting Liberal is about] one of the most remarkable careers in American Congressional history.”—Richard L. Neuberger, Saturday Review of Literature

“Always a valuable servant of the Republic, Norris in his last years had become a valuable servant of world regeneration; and his autobiography is a valuable testament of both services.”—Allan Nevins, New York Times

“Norris writes as he spoke, plainly and bluntly, and the philosophy he puts forward, a mixture of Populism, Christianity, and the New Deal, is the philosophy he lived by. Few modern American legislators left a more substantial record of achievement behind them.”—New Yorker

"Norris, who died in 1944, wrote this book in the last days of his long life. It is a bit of Nebraska history that makes some of us proud."—Charles Stephen, Lincoln Journal Star

Table of Contents

1. An Ohio Farm
2. My Mother
3. Early Education
4. On to Valparaiso
5. The L.U.N. (Lunatics Under Norris)
6. Washington Territory
7. A Law Practice
8. An Ardent Republican
9. Conceptions of Justice
10. Marriage and Home
11. Reluctant Decision
12. Payne-Aldrich Tariff Bill
13. The Unhorsing of Speaker Cannon
14. The Archibald Impeachment
15. The Party Rawhide
16. For the Grand Old Party
17. No Friendly Atmosphere
18. Hetch Hetchy
19. Death Kiss by Filibuster
20. Declaration of War
21. Defeat of the League
22. A Senate Seat for Sale
23. Teapot Dome
24. Lonely Pilgrimage
25. A Second Emancipation
26. TVA in Existence
27. Relief for the Farmer
28. "Grocer Norris"
29. Yellow Dog Contract
30. Lighting the Farms
31. The Lame Duck Amendment
32. Unicameral Legislature
33. Limitations upon Voting
34. America Taking Shape
35. Steps toward Peace
36. Lend-Lease
37. Inflation
38. By Way of Farewell

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