Chapter

When National Politics Met Crime

Ted Gest

in Crime and Politics

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195103434
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833887 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195103432.003.0002
When National Politics Met Crime

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Crime first became a major national issue in the 1964 presidential contest between incumbent Democrat Lyndon Johnson and Republican challenger Barry Goldwater. The rising crime rates prompted Goldwater to speak frequently about the problem. Johnson won the election handily, but he recognized the seriousness of the issue and named a blue‐ribbon commission on law enforcement and the administration of justice to study it. The study panel was resisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director J. Edgar Hoover, but it proceeded nevertheless. The commission's 1967 report laid out a compelling critique of the criminal justice system but watered down many of its long list of recommendations. Still, it established the groundwork for shifting anticrime policy from what had been predominantly a local issue to a federal focus.

Keywords: anticrime policy; crime; criminal justice system; FBI; Barry Goldwater; J. Edgar Hoover; Lyndon Johnson; justice; law enforcement; presidential election

Chapter.  4216 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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