American Maelstrom : the 1968 election and the politics of by Michael A. Cohen

By Michael A. Cohen

"In his presidential inaugural handle of January 1965, Lyndon Johnson provided an uplifting imaginative and prescient for the USA, one who may finish poverty and racial injustice. Elected in a landslide over the conservative Republican Barry Goldwater and reinforced via the so-called liberal consensus, fiscal prosperity, and a powerful wave of nostalgia for his martyred predecessor, John Kennedy, Johnson introduced the main ambitious Read more...

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an exhilarating account of the 1968 presidential election and its effect at the subsequent 4 many years of yank politics Read more...

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Yet, with the same fervor with which he had passed his domestic policy agenda, Johnson charged ahead on civil rights. At Howard, Johnson offered a corrective to those who saw the passage of civil rights legislation as the end of the black struggle in America. Rather, it represented the end of the beginning. ” It was not enough “to open the gates of opportunity. ”7 Johnson was now staking the future of his Great Society, his presidency, and his party on improving the lives of black Americans. While a noble and “ A L o t t a P e o p l e .

Welfare queens driving Cadillacs, “law and order,” Willie Horton, “white hands,” and “Sister Souljah”—all would become the catchwords of racial politics, post-1968. Fears of social change would be reduced to static debates between “traditional family values” on one side and permissiveness, the “homosexual agenda,” “abortion on demand,” and “radical feminism” (among other alleged ills) on the other. On economic policy, the liberal consensus would be replaced by calls for lower taxes, reduced regulation, and less government spending.

Each of us must find a way to advance the purpose of the Nation, thus finding new purpose for ourselves. ”10 For all of Johnson’s soaring rhetoric and the heady tone of harmony that resounded in the nation’s capital, America’s path looked very different than the one described by its president. That inauguration day would be a high-water mark for liberalism, never again to be matched in the lifetimes of those who gathered to hear Johnson speak. In reality, the tectonic plates of American politics had already begun to shift, almost imperceptibly, toward head-on collision.

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