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 US, one who may finish poverty and racial injustice. Elected in a landslide over the conservative Republican Barry Goldwater and reinforced by means of 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 impression at the subsequent 4 a long time of yankee politics Read more...

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The instrumentals, on the other hand—open housing, integrated schools, and black entry into white-­ dominated workplaces—created enormous friction. As African Americans pushed for greater economic and social opportunities, whites who felt threatened by their advances pushed back. White support for government activism was largely predicated on the notion that government would provide protections for them. ” In the fall of 1966 this figure had fallen to 39 percent. By the summer of 1967, it dropped to 24 percent.

S. ” That those at the poor end of the spectrum were overwhelmingly black—and those in the middle overwhelmingly white—further heightened tension and suspicion. 14 The white backlash of the late 1960s represented one of the most powerful and enduring political forces of the era. It would in time, transform not only American politics, but also how the nation was governed. Yet the backlash, 22 ■ BEFORE characterized by an incoherent mass of resentments, frustrations, and misperceptions, defies easy description.

24 Johnson’s reaction to these attitudes did not help matters. ” This approach effectively ignored the growing sense among white working-class voters that those pushing the hardest for racial integration cared little about the impact of these policies on their lives. “Everyone, deep down, wants something a little better for his children,” Johnson said in justifying his ambitions. 25 The fight for control of predominately white urban neighborhoods increasingly became a zero-sum game. Across American cities a vicious cycle would be repeated—a black family would move in and demonstrations would ensue; occasionally even violence would break out.

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