Crossroads: Harrison A. Williams, Jr. and Great Society Liberalism, 1959-1981


In his 1968 book Crossroads U.S.A., U.S. Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. (D-NJ) argued for a vision of America that encompassed social justice, expanded educational and economic opportunity, environmentalism, and urban improvement as national goals. As pursued by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and their congressional allies, including Williams, this liberal vision has been referred to as the Great Society, a term taken from a 1964 speech by President Johnson.

This digital exhibition considers the goals of the Great Society as exemplified by the Senate career of Harrison Williams and, from another angle, it places Williams´s legislative efforts in the context of the liberal vision held by many Americans in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Rutgers University Libraries wish to thank Jeanette Williams for donating the papers of her late husband, Senator Harrison A. ("Pete") Williams Jr. to the University, and acknowledge her generosity in making this collection accessible. The fundraising efforts of Former Congressman and Ambassador William J. Hughes; James Grogan, General President, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers; and Williams´s aide and friend, John Molinari, along with many family, friends, and former staff members also contributed generously to this effort.

2 images in collage: thank you for medicare and Harrison with President Johnson