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The long era of liberal reform that began with the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century and continued with the New Deal, culminated in the 1960s with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Inspired by the example of his mentor, Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson sought to extend the agenda of the New Deal beyond the realm of economic security to civil rights, housing, education, and health care. In the end, however, his bold ambitions for a Great Society, initiated against the backdrop of an increasingly costly and divisive war, fueled a conservative backlash and undermined faith in liberalism itself.

In this volume of original essays, a distinguished group of scholars and activists reassess the mixed legacy of this third major reform period of the last century. They examine not only the policies and programs that were part of LBJ's Great Society, but also the underlying ideological and political shifts that changed the nature of liberalism. Some of the essays focus on Lyndon Johnson himself and the institution of the modern presidency, others on specific reform measures, and still others on the impact of these initiatives in the decades that followed. Perspectives, methodologies, and conclusions differ, yet all of the contributors agree that the Great Society represented an important chapter in the story of the American republic and its ongoing struggle to reconcile the power of the state with the rights of individuals -- a struggle that has continued into the twenty-first century.

In addition to the editors, contributors include Henry J. Abraham, Brian Balogh, Rosalyn Baxandall, Edward Berkowitz, Eileen Boris, Richard A. Cloward, Hugh Davis Graham, Hugh Heclo, Frederick Hess, William E. Leuchtenburg, Nelson Lichtenstein, Patrick McGuinn, Wilson Carey McWilliams, R. Shep Melnick, Frances Fox Piven, and David M. Shribman.

For scholars who have studied it, as for many Americans who experienced it firsthand, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal has long represented a turning point in the modern history of the United States. More than simply a bold program of political change, it marked a critical departure in the governing principles, institutional arrangements, and policies that shape American life.

In this collection of original essays, a distinguished group of political scientists and historians reevaluate the legacy of the New Deal, showing how Roosevelt and his allies forged an enduring public philosophy -- modern liberalism -- that redefined the relationship of government and governed. Adapting broad principles from the past to the unprecedented circumstances of a worldwide depression, the New Dealers shifted American politics away from its traditional emphasis on self-reliance, private property, and decentralized power. In its place they advocated a new "economic constitutional order" -- in effect, a new social contract -- in which the government guaranteed protection to individuals against the uncertainties of the marketplace.

Although the contributors differ in their assessment of the successes and failures of New Deal liberalism, all agree that its implications for American political life were profound and far-reaching -- in the realm of foreign as well as domestic affairs, for the theory as well as the practice of government. Taken together, the essays offer a fresh look at the many ways the New Deal, in Harry Hopkins's phrase, "made America over."

In addition to the editors, contributors are William E. Leuchtenburg, Marc Landy, Nelson Lichtenstein, Donald R. Brand, Jyette Klausen, Suzanne Mettler, Ronald Story, Seyom Brown, and Morton Keller.

Few relationships have proved more pivotal in changing the course of American politics than those between presidents and social movements. For all their differences, both presidents and social movements are driven by a desire to recast the political system, often pursuing rival agendas that set them on a collision course. Even when their interests converge, these two actors often compete to control the timing and conditions of political change. During rare historical moments, however, presidents and social movements forged partnerships that profoundly recast American politics.

Rivalry and Reform explores the relationship between presidents and social movements throughout history and into the present day, revealing the patterns that emerge from the epic battles and uneasy partnerships that have profoundly shaped reform. Through a series of case studies, including Abraham Lincoln and abolitionism, Lyndon Johnson and the civil rights movement, and Ronald Reagan and the religious right, Sidney M. Milkis and Daniel J. Tichenor argue persuasively that major political change usually reflects neither a top-down nor bottom-up strategy but a crucial interplay between the two. Savvy leaders, the authors show, use social movements to support their policy goals. At the same time, the most successful social movements target the president as either a source of powerful support or the center of opposition. The book concludes with a consideration of Barack Obama’s approach to contemporary social movements such as Black Lives Matter, United We Dream, and Marriage Equality.
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