Liberalism's Last Hurrah: The Presidential Campaign of 1964

Liberalism's Last Hurrah: The Presidential Campaign of 1964

by Robert H Donaldson
     
 

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Marked by sharp ideological divisions over civil rights, Vietnam, and federal power, the 1964 presidential campaign between Democrat Lyndon Johnson and Republican Barry Goldwater proved a watershed election in
American history. Although Johnson defeated Goldwater in a landslide and liberalism seemed to ride triumphant, the liberal wave crashed almost immediately

Overview

Marked by sharp ideological divisions over civil rights, Vietnam, and federal power, the 1964 presidential campaign between Democrat Lyndon Johnson and Republican Barry Goldwater proved a watershed election in
American history. Although Johnson defeated Goldwater in a landslide and liberalism seemed to ride triumphant, the liberal wave crashed almost immediately and conservatives came to dominate a resurgent Republican Party in the late twentieth century. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this is the first historical account of this crucial election, and the transition it marked for the nation. Filled with colorful details and fascinating figures - Johnson, Goldwater, Wallace, Rockefeller, Nixon, Reagan, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Bush, and many more - it captures the full excitement, drama, and significance of "liberalism's last hurrah."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The day after the 1964 presidential election, James Reston wrote, "Barry Goldwater not only lost the presidential election yesterday, but the conservative cause as well. He has wrecked his party for a long time to come...." But the Johnson landslide, says historian Donaldson (Truman Defeats Dewey), was misleading. As he convincingly argues, the 1964 election marked the apex of liberalism, which would soon fatally overextend itself with the Great Society, and heralded the rise of conservative Republicans, who would commandeer their party and ultimately seize the White House. Donaldson recounts how Goldwater's conservatives pushed aside the long-dominant Wall Street moderates. This had immense ideological implications; suddenly, the Republicans offered a sharp contrast to the Democrats rather than a vapid "me-tooism" that tacitly accepted the New Deal. The 1964 election also marked a dramatic regional change in party constituencies. For the first time, the South-prompted largely by Johnson's Civil Rights Act-voted Republican. Goldwater (an Arizona senator) and his followers thus shifted the epicenter of the Republican party to the South and West. In essence, with his 1964 defeat, Goldwater was "a martyr to the cause," clearing the way for the far more successful Ronald Reagan. In the view of many conservatives, Donaldson writes, Goldwater was "Reagan's John the Baptist," crying in the wilderness and anticipating the savior to come. Donaldson touches on other elements of the 1964 race-civil rights, the role of George Wallace, Johnson's rivalry with Robert Kennedy-but Goldwater's conservatives pulse at the heart of this story, which offers a sharp and penetrating analysis of a movement on the cusp of power. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“The prolific Donaldson’s best book yet. Liberalism’s Last Hurrah is particularly strong in its emphasis on the roots of the resurgence of conservatism during the last half century.”—David Burner, SUNY Stony Brook

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765611192
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
02/28/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author


Gary A. Donaldson is the Keller Family Foundation Chair in American History at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. He is the author of numerous books on American political and diplomatic history including The Making of Modern America: The Nation from 1945 to the Present; Modern America: A Documentary History of the Nation Since 1945; The First Modern Campaign: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960; American Foreign Policy: The Twentieth Century in Documents; and Truman Defeats Dewey.

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