Farewell to Prosperity
Wealth, Identity, and Conflict in Postwar America
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Missouri Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Money and race have composed the master narratives of American history. But the civil rights impulse of the past fifty years with its vigorous supporting scholarship has elevated the importance of the latter while unwarrantedly eclipsing the central place of the former.1 Yet it was the demands of a...
Chapter 1. Schism in the Soul
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On April 12, 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt abruptly passed from the
national and global scenes he had dominated for a dozen years. He left behind
a world still at war, a legion of stunned followers, and a blueprint for the future.
Over the previous five years, Washington had drafted and enlisted some...
Chapter 2. Flush Times
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Finally, it was over. “Step into the Signature Room, sign the final discharge
papers, get some back pay, a handshake, a discharge button, and suddenly
you’re a civilian. Suddenly. Perhaps too suddenly. The frame was waiting for you
to fit into it. But how sure were you of anything anymore?”1
So much had changed. If the war had enriched the nation, it had impoverished
Chapter 3. Cold War Imprisonment
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In the autumn of 1945, US Army Chief of Staff George Catlett Marshall submitted his “Victory Report” to Secretary of War Henry Stimson. “Never was the strength of the American democracy so evident nor has it ever been so clearly within our power to give definite guidance for our course into the future...
Chapter 4. Jacob’s Ladder
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As World War II came to an end, a few outspoken southern intellectuals, including Ralph McGill, editor-in-chief of the Atlanta Constitution, and Virginius Dabney of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, admitted that their beloved region was becoming dangerously anachronistic. Other southern whites...
Chapter 5. Troubles in the Making
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The young members of the veteran generation who came to power with John F. Kennedy in 1961 thought they had a handle on the world. If America and the world did not get the message, Kennedy pounded it home on that snowy January noon on the Capitol steps: the torch had been passed...
Chapter 6. Varieties of Dissent
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By 1961 young William F. Buckley had carved a unique niche for himself in the pantheon of national opinion makers by acting as a bridge between conservative traditionalists such as Friedrich Hayek and Russell Kirk and the outright fantasy worlds of a Radical Right that was progressively hijacking...
Chapter 7. Liberal Overreach
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By 1964 America was becoming a country of the young, by the young, and for the young. An impatient, rebellious new generation of blacks and whites, men and women, responded to issues—racism, sexism, Third World revolution—that promised to unite the downtrodden across the globe. And everywhere at home and abroad, they believed, stood treacherous power structures...
Chapter 8. Volte Face
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Like an automobile running out of gas at ninety miles an hour, the momentum of change unleashed in the sixties did not cease abruptly but rather carried well into the following decade. By 1974, however, widespread reaction combined with creeping economic problems began to revive the temperament...
Chapter 9. Back to the Future
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Ronald Reagan swept into power amid a flamboyant display of wealth and privilege—a “bacchanalia of the Haves,” as one bemused observer noted. Throughout those first days of January 1981, “vanguards of a new era” filled the capital, “bearing special inaugural plates with names of corporations that had...
Chapter 10. Conservative Overreach
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The headlines and stories that appeared in the summer of 2012 were sadly typical of American finance since the 1980s. “A Chief with Flair Falls from a Perch. Robert E. Diamond, Jr., a fiercely competitive Wall Street executive who hated to lose,” was besieged by demands for his resignation from...
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Page Count: 488
Publication Year: 2014