My article in the Boston Globe and PBS News Hour blog prompted libertarians to write suggesting I have a political stance in reporting the political overtones of the Little House books. For the record, I am registered as an unaffiliated voter in my home state. I do not come to my work on Laura Ingalls Wilder with any political agenda.
When I say that these books created a new pioneer myth just when people needed a dose of courage—during the Great Depression, when Laura and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, wrote the series—I mean that I see the beginnings of the woman who is often called “the mother of the Libertarian party” in the work Rose did on these books. Rose’s earlier work, particularly a narrative biography of Herbert Hoover before his first run for the presidency in the early 1920s, also emphasized self-reliance and free markets. Hoover did not like that book because he felt she took liberties with his early life.