Political Conspiracies in America: A Reader

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Overview

Conspiracy theories have been a part of the American experience since colonial times. There is a rich literature on conspiracies involving, among others, Masons, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, financiers, Communists, and internationalists. Although many conspiracy theories appear irrational, an exaggerated fear of a conspiracy sometimes proves to be well founded. This anthology provides students with documents relating to some of the more important and interesting conspiracy theories in American history and politics, some based on reality, many chiefly on paranoia. It provides a fascinating look at a persistent and at times troubling aspect of democratic society.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Bean

"An interesting and important reader.... [It] offers a powerful thematic approach that will prove popular with students and instructors alike." —Jonathan Bean, Southern Illinois University

Choice - S. Prisco III

In this primary source collection of conspiracy theories through six stages of US history, objective editors interested in exploring the phenomena argue that insecurities during rapidly changing times encourage suspicions and irrational conspiracies. The first stage looks at the post-Revolutionary era Federalist belief in a Jeffersonian conspiracy to
support French radicalism, the Burr western land plot, and Masonic support of Andrew Jackson's presidency. Stage two surveys anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, and anti-national bank sentiment. Stage three focuses on abolitionists and slave power conspiracies. The fourth stage reviews the Red Scare, robber baron capitalism, racism,
anti-Semitism, and isolationism. Stage five concentrates on the Cold War era, space aliens, and the 1960s assassinations. Stage six looks at more contemporary issues related to globalization and the new world order, the AIDS conspiracy thesis, and terrorism. The editors touch on a few additional assorted conspiracies throughout. The
work compares favorably to Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics (CH, Mar'66), Robert Goldberg's Enemies Within, (Jun'02, 39-6001), and Mark Fenster's Conspiracy Theories (1999). Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries.S. Prisco III, Stevens Institute of Technology, Choice, May 2009

From the Publisher

"[O]bjective editors interested in exploring the phenomena argue that insecurities during rapidly changing times encourage suspicions and irrational conspiracies.... Recommended." —Choice, May 2009

"An interesting and important reader.... [It] offers a powerful thematic approach that will prove popular with students and instructors alike." —Jonathan Bean, Southern Illinois University

Choice

"[O]bjective editors interested in exploring the phenomena argue that insecurities during rapidly changing times encourage suspicions and irrational conspiracies.... Recommended." —Choice, May 2009

Choice

"[O]bjective editors interested in exploring the phenomena argue that insecurities during rapidly changing times encourage suspicions and irrational conspiracies.... Recommended." —Choice, May 2009

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253350794
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald T. Critchlow is Professor of History at St. Louis University and author of Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism and Studebaker: The Life and Death of an American Corporation (IUP, 1996).

John Korasick is a judicial archivist for the Missouri State Historical Archives.

Matthew C. Sherman is a doctoral candidate at St. Louis University.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents<\>
Introduction

Section 1. Conspiracy in a New Nation
Section 2. Conspiracy in an Age of Democracy
Section 3. Conspiracy in a Divided Nation
Section 4. Conspiracy in the Industrial Age through the New Deal
Section 5. Conspiracy in the Cold War Era
Section 6. Conspiracy in Contemporary America

For Further Reading
Index

Indiana University Press

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