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Paul Tsongas Digital Archives

Paul E. Tsongas

Paul Tsongas not only built national prominence as a Congressman, Senator, Presidential candidate, and author of four books, but as a favorite son of the city of Lowell he is credited for almost single-handedly revitalizing the depressed economy of his home town, transforming it into a regional center for business, education, culture, and sports.  As a pro-business advocate, he wrote key legislation resulting in the 1979 Chrysler bailout.  As a conservationist, he led the passage of the 1980 Alaska Lands Act. As an alternative-energy proponent he advanced the use of solar energy and maintained support for nuclear energy in spite of its unpopularity. As an environmentalist he chaired the first Senate hearings on global warming, and as a champion of human rights, he ardently advocated equal rights for women and gays. At the same time, throughout his career and his writings he led the fight to re-define liberalism; urging non-ideological, pragmatic, tough-minded approaches to the nation’s problems, which he termed “compassionate realism”, more popularly referred to as neoliberalism. As the nation once again confronts a combination of political re-alignment, economic turmoil, energy dependency, and an environmental crisis, the legacy of Paul Tsongas provides a significant historical context to these crucial ongoing political debates.