In the first political biography of Donald Richberg, Thomas E. Vadney traces the continuities and discontinuities in the American reform tradition from the days of the Progressives to the years after the New Deal. Richberg's strong advocacy of the earlier liberalism contrasted with his equally strong rejection of post-New Deal liberalism.
At the beginning of the New Deal, Richberg supported Roosevelt's National Recovery Administration program, but as time went on he was unable to accept the growth of big government and the welfare state that later evolved from it. Many of the old liberals firmly believed in the viability of competition, opportunity, and individualism, and abhorred the later efforts of younger liberals to expand the functions of government. Donald Richberg's story is one of a persistent faithfulness to the older concept of liberalism.