The Broken Promise of Liberal Revolution

Carol A. Horton

in Race and the Making of American Liberalism

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780195143485
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850402 | DOI:
The Broken Promise of Liberal Revolution

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This chapter deals with the meteoric rise and fall of social liberalism in the United States during the mid- to late 1960s. In 1964, movement activists and their allies optimistically believed that they could form a new coalition of minorities, labor unionists, left-of-center liberals, and low-income voters that would have the political muscle to move the Democratic Party substantially to the left in order to pursue the ambitious agenda of eliminating both poverty and racial injustice. By 1968, however, these hopes had been crushed. As the social and political turmoil growing out of racial politics and the Vietnam War engulfed the nation, a growing conservative “backlash” gained momentum. Although the election of President Richard Nixon in that year did not inaugurate the sort of extreme reactionary regime that some hoped for and others feared, it was widely taken to mark the beginning of a new, more conservative era.

Keywords: United States; social liberalism; racial politics; Richard Nixon; poverty; racial injustice; Democratic Party

Chapter.  9425 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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