Louis Wirth
February 05, 1951

The Unfinished Business of a Democratic Society

A lecture at the University of Illinois by Louis Wirth, a sociologist at the University of Chicago, on February 5, 1951. The bulk of Wirth’s lecture is about social issues in the United States, but he frames his lecture in the context of U.S. interests abroad, specifically in relation to Russia and communism. He begins with the question, “ are the vital interests of the United States clearly threatened?” He argues that our interests and values should not be defined in relation to communist or Russian interests, and that the core needs and problems within U.S. society are deferred when we focus on vague threats of communism.