Framing the Sixties: The Use and Abuse of a Decade from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush [NOOK Book]

Overview

Over the past quarter century, American liberals and conservatives alike have invoked memories of the 1960s to define their respective ideological positions and to influence voters. Liberals recall the positive associations of what might be called the “good Sixties”—the “Camelot” years of JFK, the early civil rights movement, and the dreams of the Great Society—while conservatives conjure images of the “bad Sixties”—a time of urban riots, ...
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Framing the Sixties: The Use and Abuse of a Decade from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush

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Overview

Over the past quarter century, American liberals and conservatives alike have invoked memories of the 1960s to define their respective ideological positions and to influence voters. Liberals recall the positive associations of what might be called the “good Sixties”—the “Camelot” years of JFK, the early civil rights movement, and the dreams of the Great Society—while conservatives conjure images of the “bad Sixties”—a time of urban riots, antiwar protests, and countercultural revolt.

In Framing the Sixties, Bernard von Bothmer examines this battle over the collective memory of the decade primarily through the lens of presidential politics. He shows how four presidents—Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—each sought to advance his political agenda by consciously shaping public understanding of the meaning of “the Sixties.” He compares not only the way that each depicted the decade as a whole, but also their commentary on a set of specific topics: the presidency of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” initiatives, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War.

In addition to analyzing the pronouncements of the presidents themselves, von Bothmer draws on interviews he conducted with more than one hundred and twenty cabinet members, speechwriters, advisers, strategists, historians, journalists, and activists from across the political spectrum—from Julian Bond, Daniel Ellsberg, Todd Gitlin, and Arthur Schlesinger to James Baker, Robert Bork, Phyllis Schlafly, and Paul Weyrich.

It is no secret that the upheavals of the 1960s opened fissures within American society that have continued to affect the nation’s politics and to intensify its so-called culture wars. What this book documents is the extent to which political leaders, left and right, consciously exploited those divisions by “framing” the memory of that turbulent decade to serve their own partisan interests.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613762301
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 3 MB

Table of Contents

Introduction Framing the Frame 1

1 "The Sixties": Defining an Era 11

2 Blaming "the Sixties": The Rise of Ronald Reagan 28

3 A Tale of Two Sixties: Reagan's Use of JFK and LBJ 45

4 Reagan and the Memory of the Vietnam War 70

5 Remembering Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement: George H. W. Bush's 1960s 93

6 George H. W. Bush and the Great Society 113

7 Bill Clinton and the Heroes of the 1960s: Using Liberal Icons for Conservative Ends 131

8 Vietnam and "the Sixties" in the Clinton Presidency 158

9 The "Un-Sixties" Candidate: George W. Bush 179

10 Framing John Kerry: The 2004 Presidential Campaign and "the Sixties" 200

Conclusion: The Persistent Power of the 1960s 221

Appendix Alphabetical List and Identifications of Individuals Interviewed 233

Notes 241

Index 283

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