The Republican Party and American Politics from Hoover to Reagan

Overview

During a long period of the twentieth century, stretching from the Great Depression until the Reagan years, defeat generally characterized the electoral record of the Republican party. Although Republicans sometimes secured victory in presidential contests, a majority of Americans identified with the Democratic party, not the GOP. This book investigates how Republicans tackled the problem of their party's minority status and why their efforts to boost GOP fortunes usually ended in failure. At the heart of the ...

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The Republican Party and American Politics from Hoover to Reagan

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Overview

During a long period of the twentieth century, stretching from the Great Depression until the Reagan years, defeat generally characterized the electoral record of the Republican party. Although Republicans sometimes secured victory in presidential contests, a majority of Americans identified with the Democratic party, not the GOP. This book investigates how Republicans tackled the problem of their party's minority status and why their efforts to boost GOP fortunes usually ended in failure. At the heart of the Republicans' minority puzzle was the profound and persistent popularity of New Deal liberalism. This puzzle was stubbornly resistant to solution. Efforts to develop a Republican version of government activism met little success. The same was true of conservative strategies that stressed a more fundamental rejection of the Democrats' arguments. Technocratic initiatives to improve party organization and communications similarly failed to facilitate an electoral breakthrough. Only the Democratic party's decline eventually created opportunities for Republican resurgence. This book is the first to offer a wide-ranging analysis of the topic, which is of central importance to any understanding of modern U.S. political history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“History is written by the victors, says the old saw, and so it always seems with the Democratic Party and the long New Deal era. Robert Mason has set out to correct this imbalance with a rich and careful study of politicking inside the Republican Party from the arrival of Franklin Roosevelt to the arrival of Ronald Reagan. We meet the major players, the major factions, the major policies, and the major strategic gambits, all jousting for the chance to bring that long era to an end. Along the way, we are reminded how difficult it is to make sense of our own time while it unfolds and how difficult it is, as a result, to line up the coalition behind some alternative vision.” – Byron E. Shafer, Hawkins Chair of Political Science, University of Wisconsin

“Analytically astute, empirically sound, and lucidly written, Mason’s history of the Republican Party’s long years in the minority is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand America’s two-party political system in the modern era. This is the best single-volume history of GOP leaders’ struggle to find and articulate a winning response to New Deal and Great Society programs and ideology that I have read.” – David Farber, author of The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism

"Recommended." -Choice

"Mason’s history is a well-researched assessment of intraparty battles within the Republican party as it dealt with the legacies of New Deal liberalism." -Gregory L. Schneider, The Journal of American History

"...ranks among the best." -Michael K. Fauntroy, Political Science Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107007048
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/21/2011
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Mason is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Edinburgh, where he has worked since 1998. In 2004–5 he held a fellowship at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress. Professor Mason is the author of Richard Nixon and the Quest for a New Majority (2004).

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. From old Home Melodies to jazz music: 1928–33; 2. As Maine goes, so goes Vermont: 1933–9; 3. The simple barefoot Wall Street lawyer: 1939–45; 4. Liberty versus socialism: 1945–53; 5. Modern Republicanism: 1953–61; 6. A choice, not an echo: 1960–8; 7. There's a realignment going on: 1968–76; 8. You are witnessing the great realignment: 1977–89; Conclusion.

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