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American Patriotism, American Protest

Social Movements Since the Sixties

By Simon Hall

Publication Year: 2011

During the 1970s and beyond, political causes both left and right—the gay rights movement, second-wave feminism, the protests against busing to desegregate schools, the tax revolt, and the anti-abortion struggle—drew inspiration from the protest movements of the 1960s. Indeed, in their enthusiasm for direct-action tactics, their use of street theater, and their engagement in grassroots organizing, activists in all these movements can be considered "children of the Sixties." Invocations of America's founding ideals of liberty and justice and other forms of patriotic protest have also featured prominently in the rhetoric and image of these movements. Appeals to the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights have been made forcefully by gay rights activists and feminists, for instance, while participants in the antibusing movement, the tax revolt, and the campaign against abortion rights have waved the American flag and claimed the support of the nation's founders.

In tracing the continuation of quintessentially "Sixties" forms of protest and ideas into the last three decades of the twentieth century, and in emphasizing their legacy for conservatives as well as those on the left, American Patriotism, American Protest shows that the activism of the civil rights, New Left, and anti-Vietnam War movements has shaped America's modern political culture in decisive ways. As well as providing a refreshing alternative to the "rise and fall" narrative through which the Sixties are often viewed, Simon Hall's focus on the shared commitment to patriotic protest among a diverse range of activists across the political spectrum also challenges claims that, in recent decades, patriotism has become the preserve of the political right. Full of original and insightful observations, and based on extensive archival research, American Patriotism, American Protest transforms our understanding of the Sixties and their aftermath.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press


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pp. 1-8

On Sunday 11 October 1987, more than 200,000 protesters gathered in Washington, D.C., for a national march for lesbian and gay rights. The day began with the unveiling on the Mall of the AIDS memorial quilt. Containing 1,920 three foot by six foot panels made by the lovers, friends, and families of those lost to the epidemic, the quilt (which by ...

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1. Patriotism, Protest, and the 1960s

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pp. 9-25

Amid the dramatic protests and social activism of the 1960s the civil rights movement stands out for its commitment to, and enthusiasm for, patriotic protest. Indeed, black leaders sought consistently to fuse respectable tactics—such as dressing smartly, behaving peacefully, and maintaining dignity even in the face of white supremacist provocation ...

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2. The Struggle for Gay Rights

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pp. 26-50

On 30 April 2000, several hundred thousand protesters assembled on the Mall in Washington, D.C., for the Millennium March, the fourth national gay rights demonstration to be hosted in the nation’s capital. “For more than six hours, under a warm spring sun” the crowd heard speeches from activists, celebrities and politicians; both President Clinton and Vice ...

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3. Women's Rights—The Second Wave

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pp. 51-76

On Wednesday 26 August 1970 a crowd of more than 10,000, the vast majority of them women, marched down Fifth Avenue in New York to a rally in Bryant Park. Conceived by National Organization for Women (NOW) founder and feminist icon Betty Friedan, the march celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the nineteenth amendment and was also part ...

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4. The Battles over Busing

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pp. 77-94

As the first of the bright yellow school buses rolled up outside South Boston High School on the morning of Thursday 12 September 1974 it was greeted by an angry mob. Chants of “Go home nigger,” and “Turn the bus over” erupted from the watching crowd of 500 or so whites. As a rock bounced off the side of the bus “a cheer arose from the youths ...

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5. The Tax Revolt

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pp. 95-116

On the morning of Wednesday 20 April 1977 about fifteen senior citizens, led by Roger Sutton of California’s Citizens Action League (CAL), assembled on the steps of the old courthouse building in Redwood City to demand property tax relief for the state’s low-income citizens. In a dramatic show of protest that was reminiscent of the draft card burnings ...

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6. The Anti-Abortion Movement

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pp. 117-139

On Wednesday 22 January 1975, two years to the day after Roe v. Wade, a crowd of 25,000 gathered on the steps of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. for the second annual March for Life. The protesters carried “roses and placards—with slogans such as ‘Kill Inflation, Not Babies’ and ‘It’s Not Nice to Fool with Mother Nature.’” The day’s biggest cheer was ...

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pp. 140-144

The popular interpretation of the 1960s stresses the youthful idealism and initial optimism of the civil rights and student movements, as well as activists’ commitment to nonviolence and participatory democracy. But as the decade wore on, we are told, protesters became consumed by bitterness and violence, and the various movements that they sustained ...


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pp. 145-187


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pp. 189-202


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pp. 203-212

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pp. 213-215

Since beginning work on American Patriotism, American Protest I have run up an assortment of debts—financial, intellectual, and emotional—and it is a particular pleasure to have the opportunity to acknowledge those who have offered help, encouragement and other forms of assistance ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780812203653
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812242959

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 761340909
MUSE Marc Record: Download for American Patriotism, American Protest

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Subject Headings

  • Patriotism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1980-.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1960-1980.
  • Social movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Protest movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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