This essay reevaluates the work of Herbert Croly, a central figure in American progressivism. Croly contests the thesis that the liberal tradition in the United States is inhospitable to anticapitalist alternatives, drawing from the American past a history of resistance to capitalist wage relations that is fundamentally liberal. This historical reconstruction guides his departure from progressivism. Croly reclaims an idea Progressives allowed to lapse -- that working for wages is a lesser form of liberty. Increasingly sceptical of social welfare legislation to remedy social ills, he argues that America's liberal promise can be redeemed only by syndicalist reforms involving workplace democracy.