The Massachusetts Historical Society is a group of like-minded friends who shared literary political commitments and historical experiences during the middle of the century. This book focuses on four central figures of this group: Charles Eliot Norton, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, George William Curtis, and James Russell Lowell. It describes how this liberal circle of friends and the larger community of liberal men of letters devoted their post-Civil War careers to the reformation of American democracy, to the elevation and broadening of its cultural life, and to a sharp critique of its late-century imperial adventures.
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