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

By Michael A. Cohen

"In his presidential inaugural deal with of January 1965, Lyndon Johnson provided an uplifting imaginative and prescient for the United States, one who might finish poverty and racial injustice. Elected in a landslide over the conservative Republican Barry Goldwater and strengthened via the so-called liberal consensus, monetary 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 influence at the subsequent 4 a long time of yank politics Read more...

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He wanted more money for health, education, and antipoverty programs, and more resources for the slums, open housing legislation, political reform, a Department of Transportation, and new environmental regulations. The list of priorities was matched by a continued commitment to the war in Vietnam. ”11 Privately, Johnson felt increasing skepticism that he could successfully pursue such a policy of guns and butter, and he told cabinet officials and staffers to prepare to operate with fewer resources.

In tones alternately inspirational and solemn, and in language plain-spoken, Johnson told his countrymen, “Men want to be a part of a common enterprise—a cause greater than themselves. 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 April 1968, journalist Bil Gilbert traveled to Millersburg, Pennsylvania, a small town north of Harrisburg, where the residents were largely white and middle and working class. ” Residents there had no direct connection to the traumas of urban America and little interaction with antiwar demonstrators or black militants. Yet they deeply feared them all the same. “Crime, the street being unsafe, strikes, the trouble with the colored, all this dope-taking, people leaving the churches. It is sort of a breakdown of our standards, the American way of life,” said one woman.

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