Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Philip Abbott


Louis Hartz proposed that America possesses a liberal tradition that works toward a Lockean equality for all people. I argue that Hartzs' theory is still applicable to America even though illiberal institutions have and do exist. My contention is that it is the paradox of liberalism that allows for this. Slavery is the quintessential illiberal institution, yet liberal concepts allowed it to exist in America for over 200 years. It is my contention that abortion is another illiberal institution that is being promoted by the paradox of liberalism. With the use of John Rawls theory of distributive justice abortion can be eradicated from American society while upholding the American liberal tradition.