The Pulse Of Politics / Edition 1

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Overview

Every four years, journalists propel a presidential campaign into the national consciousness. New candidates and issues become features of the political landscape while familiar rituals are reshaped by the unpredictability of personalities and events. Underlying this apparent process of change, however, is a recurrent cycle of political themes and social attitudes, a pulse of politics that locks the process of choosing a president into a predictable pattern. In this bold and brilliant examination of modern presidential politics, James David Barber reveals the dynamics of this cycle and shows how the pattern of drift and reaction may be broken in this most critical of political choices.

Barber probes beneath the surface of campaigns to detect a steady rhythm of major political motifs. The theory he advances in colorful narrative chapters is that three dominant themes-conflict, conscience, conciliation-recur in foreseeable twelve-year cycles. A combative campaign-Truman vs. Dewey in 1948-is followed four years later by a moral crusade-Eisenhower vs. Stevenson in 1952-which in turn is succeeded by a contest to unify the nation-the Eisenhower-Stevenson rematch in 1956. The pattern is then renewed: the fierce combat between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960 was followed in 1964 by the contest of principle between Johnson and Goldwater. In 1968 Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey by promising to bring the nation together.

Monitoring shifting national political moods is a new elite: the journalists. Barber makes the case that the party system, increasingly clumsy and inflexible, can no longer pick up the beat of politics. Instead it is through newspapers, magazines, and television that the main themes of a campaign are sounded, created, and destroyed. This new edition of The Pulse of Politics provides a timely guide to the themes of the 1992 presidential campaign and to future elections. It will be of special interest to political scientists, historians, media analysts, and journalists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Professor Barber, renowned for his study of The Presidential Character (1977), here examines the historical growth of the press, printed and electronic, in shaping presidential campaigns from 1896 to 1980....[T]he book is full of insight, anecdote and wit."

--Foreign Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560005896
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/15/2007
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

James David Barber is James B. Duke Professor of Political Science at Duke University in North Carolina. His books include The Race for the Presidency, The Presidential Character, Citizen Politics, and Politics by Humans.

James David Barber is James B. Duke Professor of Political Science at Duke University in North Carolina. His books include The Race for the Presidency, The Presidential Character, Citizen Politics, and Politics by Humans.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Premise 1
1 The Presidential Beat 3
2 The Pulse of Politics 13
I The Politics of Conflict 23
3 Theodore Roosevelt 1900 29
4 Harry Truman 1948 47
5 John Kennedy 1960 64
6 George McGovern 1972 87
II The Politics of Conscience 105
7 Woodrow Wilson 1916 111
8 Wendell Willkie 1940 138
9 Barry Goldwater 1964 161
10 Jimmy Carter 1976 184
III The Politics of Conciliation 211
11 Warren Harding 1920 217
12 Franklin Roosevelt 1932 238
13 Dwight Eisenhower 1956 264
14 Richard Nixon 1968 287
Proposal 309
15 A Vision Beyond the Myth 311
A Note of Appreciation 323
Bibliography 325
Index 333
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