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The Performance of PoliticsObama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744466.001.0001

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(p.1) Prologue
The Performance of Politics


Oxford University Press

From the early 1930s, when Franklin D. Roosevelt created the New Deal during the Great Depression, to the mid-1960s, when Lyndon B. Johnson launched the Great Society during a much more affluent time, the pendulum of politics in America swung magisterially and seemingly inexorably to the left side. In the four decades following, the same pendulum swung to the right. The decades-long decline of liberal political fortune came in part because of social backlash. From the New Deal to the Great Society, there had just been too much equality, too much progressive social change, too much government, and too much disruption of settled manners, mores, and entrenched elites. There was bound to be growing resistance and the return to political power of the Republican side. While political movements are deeply affected in part by social forces, their fate is decided to some extent by whether they provide these social forces with effective rhetoric and voice.

Keywords:   Franklin D. Roosevelt, New Deal, Lyndon B. Johnson, Great Society, politics, America, equality, Republican, political movements, social forces

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