Saturday, August 17, 2013

Little Libertarians on the Prairie?

Was Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved children's series written as an anti-New Deal fable? The Wilder family papers suggest yes.

Christine Woodside, "Little Libertarians on the prairie" (Boston Globe, August 9, 2013):
A close examination of the Wilder family papers suggests that Wilder’s daughter did far more than transcribe her mother’s pioneer tales: She shaped them and turned them from recollections into American fables, changing details where necessary to suit her version of the story. And if those fables sound like a perfect expression of Libertarian ideas—maximum personal freedom and limited need for the government—that’s no accident. Lane, and to an extent her mother, were affronted by taxes, the New Deal, and what they saw as Americans’ growing reliance on Washington. Eventually, as Lane became increasingly antigovernment, she would pursue her politics more openly, writing a strident political treatise and playing an important if little-known role inspiring the movement that eventually coalesced into the Libertarian Party.
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[Hat tip to C.B.]


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