Promises Kept: John F. Kennedy's New Frontier

Oxford University Press
Free sample

A counter-revisionist examination of JFK and his administration, Promises Kept presents a policy history of major domestic legislative efforts between 1961 and 1963. Bernstein focuses on administraive and congressional progress under Kennedy in civil rights, education, taxes, unemployment, Medicare, and the Peace Corps. He persuasively argues that Kennedy was indeed a successful president, showing that many of JFK's campaign promises were well on their way to enactment by the time of his assassination, even after two years of dealings with a balky and often hostile Congress, and the difficulty of working in a political system changing from conservative to liberal.
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About the author

About the Author Irving Bernstein is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. His works include The Lean Years, Turbulent Years and A Caring Society--an acclaimed trilogy on the American worker in the era of the Great Depression.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 1, 1993
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780199879663
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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During the past decade, Democrats and Republicans each have received about fifty percent of the votes and controlled about half of the government, but this has not resulted in policy deadlock. Despite highly partisan political posturing, the policy regime has been largely moderate. Incremental, yet substantial, policy innovations such as welfare reform; deficit reduction; the North American Free Trade Agreement; and the deregulation of telecommunications, banking, and agriculture have been accompanied by such continuities as Social Security and Medicare, the maintenance of earlier immigration reforms, and the persistence of many rights-based policies, including federal affirmative action.

In Seeking the Center, twenty-one contributors analyze policy outcomes in light of the frequent alternation in power among evenly divided parties. They show how the triumph of policy moderation and the defeat of more ambitious efforts, such as health care reform, can be explained by mutually supporting economic, intellectual, and political forces. Demonstrating that the determinants of public policy become clear by probing specific issues, rather than in abstract theorizing, they restore the politics of policymaking to the forefront of the political science agenda.

A successor to Martin A. Levin and Marc K. Landy’s influential The New Politics of Public Policy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), this book will be vital reading for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in political science and public policy, as well as a resource for scholars in both fields.

Government agencies spend billions of dollars each year for policy analysis with the expectation that improved policy will follow. Although civil servants conduct some analysis themselves, more frequently they contract with research organizations to assess the probable consequences of new social policies and to answer other policy questions.

Jams M. Rogers develops a theory that explains and predicts the impact of policy analysis. He illustrates his theory through welfare reform, where policy analysis is caught in political warfare and has little chance to improve actual policy.

During the 1960s and 1970s over $108 million was spent on four unprecedented social scientific experiments to test the effectiveness of a major proposal to reform the welfare system. Now out of favor, the negative income tax was thn considered to be an appealing alternative to welfare. Starting in New Jersey and Pennsylvania during the Johnson administration, the experimental research continued through Carter's term and helped to keep reform proposal and research organizations alive. This book examines the results of these experiments and their effect on Carter's reform attempt—the Program for Better Jobs and Income.

One of the author's main conclusions concerns the role of value conflict. If there is strong disagreement within society over the goals of policy, analysis will seldom change the minds of decision makers or influence policy. Policy analysis is more likely to influence thinking and policy if the issue involves low conflict.
The presidency of Lyndon Johnson was a pivotal moment in twentieth-century American history. From the decisive social programs of the Great Society, to the triumph of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts, to the catastrophe of the Vietnam War and domestic unrest, it was an era of dramatic accomplishment and wrenching tragedy. In Guns or Butter, renowned historian Irving Bernstein brings those five climactic years of the sixties vividly to life, from the moment Lee Harvey Oswald aimed a rifle from the window of the Texas School Depository to the tense ballot-counting that put Richard Nixon in the White House in 1968. Bernstein's book is a narrative masterpiece, filled with sharply drawn character sketches and swiftly moving accounts of events that range from deals cut in the Senate cloakroom, to police charging after protesters on the streets of Selma, to Vietcong commandos bursting into the American embassy in Saigon. We see Johnson ordering aides Bill Moyers and Richard Goodwin to strip and join him for a skinny-dip in the White House pool, where they formulate the Great Society. And we see a tired, distracted president pacing in his bathrobe around a table model of the besieged Khe Sanh garrison, examining aerial photographs and casualty reports. Equally important, Bernstein offers a deft assessment of Johnson's successes and failures, from his legislative programs to his futile pursuit of the war in Vietnam to his failure to boost Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign in 1968. The author not only retells the maneuvering that brought the president's plans into law, he also analyzes and explains their impact, from the Voting Rights Act to Medicare. The Great Society, Bernstein concludes, was a triumph, but Johnson's attempt to have both guns and butter, to pursue massive domestic initiatives together with a bitter undeclared war, led to runaway inflation that ultimately undermined his presidency. From the dark moments after Kennedy's assassination in 1963, to the heady days of legislative victories of 1965, to the bloody crescendo of riots, assassinations, and military battles in 1968, Johnson's administration was a defining moment in modern American history. In Guns or Butter, Irving Bernstein brilliantly captures both the events and the meaning of those momentous years. Aside from its historical value, this book has major current significance. The legislative program Newt Gingrich and his Republican colleagues introduced in 1995 was designed to repeal the Great Society. Before doing so, members of Congress and the interested public should understand Lyndon Johnson's vision and the legislation that was enacted during the sixties. Guns or Butter provides that critical information.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX • A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

“[Bryan Stevenson’s] dedication to fighting for justice and equality has inspired me and many others and made a lasting impact on our country.”—John Legend

NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN • Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction • Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction • Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize • An American Library Association Notable Book

“Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”—David Cole, The New York Review of Books

“Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America’s Mandela.”—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

“You don’t have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.”—Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review

“Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he’s also a gifted writer and storyteller.”—The Washington Post

“As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty.”—The Financial Times

“Brilliant.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
WINNER OF THE 2017 PULITZER PRIZE GENERAL NON-FICTION 

From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America
 
In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR NONFICTION | WINNER OF THE PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION | WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION | FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by The New York Times Book Review • The Boston Globe •  The Washington Post • NPR • Entertainment Weekly • The New Yorker • Bloomberg •  Esquire • Buzzfeed • Fortune • San Francisco Chronicle • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel • St. Louis Post-Dispatch •  Politico •  The Week • Bookpage • Kirkus Reviews •  Amazon •  Barnes and Noble Review •  Apple •  Library Journal • Chicago Public Library • Publishers Weekly • Booklist • Shelf Awareness
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE AND THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

This classic biography is the story of seven men—a naturalist, a writer, a lover, a hunter, a ranchman, a soldier, and a politician—who merged at age forty-two to become the youngest President in history.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt begins at the apex of his international prestige. That was on New Year’s Day, 1907, when TR, who had just won the Nobel Peace Prize, threw open the doors of the White House to the American people and shook 8,150 hands. One visitor remarked afterward, “You go to the White House, you shake hands with Roosevelt and hear him talk—and then you go home to wring the personality out of your clothes.”

The rest of this book tells the story of TR’s irresistible rise to power. During the years 1858–1901, Theodore Roosevelt transformed himself from a frail, asthmatic boy into a full-blooded man. Fresh out of Harvard, he simultaneously published a distinguished work of naval history and became the fist-swinging leader of a Republican insurgency in the New York State Assembly. He chased thieves across the Badlands of North Dakota with a copy of Anna Karenina in one hand and a Winchester rifle in the other. Married to his childhood sweetheart in 1886, he became the country squire of Sagamore Hill on Long Island, a flamboyant civil service reformer in Washington, D.C., and a night-stalking police commissioner in New York City. As assistant secretary of the navy, he almost single-handedly brought about the Spanish-American War. After leading “Roosevelt’s Rough Riders” in the famous charge up San Juan Hill, Cuba, he returned home a military hero, and was rewarded with the governorship of New York. In what he called his “spare hours” he fathered six children and wrote fourteen books. By 1901, the man Senator Mark Hanna called “that damned cowboy” was vice president. Seven months later, an assassin’s bullet gave TR the national leadership he had always craved.

His is a story so prodigal in its variety, so surprising in its turns of fate, that previous biographers have treated it as a series of haphazard episodes. This book, the only full study of TR’s pre-presidential years, shows that he was an inevitable chief executive. “It was as if he were subconsciously aware that he was a man of many selves,” the author writes, “and set about developing each one in turn, knowing that one day he would be President of all the people.”
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