The Fall of the Liberal Consensus Essay

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The Fall of the Liberal Consensus

Looking at the United States in 1965, it would seem that the future of the liberal consensus was well entrenched. The anti-war movement was in full swing, civil rights were moving forward, and Johnson's Great Society was working to alleviate the plight of the poor in America. Yet, by 1968 the liberal consensus had fallen apart, which led to the triumph of conservatism with the election of President Reagan in 1980. The question must be posed, how in the course of 15 years did liberal consensus fall apart and conservatism rise to the forefront? What were the decisive factors that caused the fracturing of what seemed to be such a powerful political force? In looking at the period from 1968 to the
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During President Johnson's term in office from 1964 to 1968, Johnson had declared a war on poverty. This is made evident when Johnson attempts to attack poverty at its roots. He states, Our chief weapons in a more pinpointed attack will be better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better training, and better job opportunities to help more Americans, especially young Americans, escape from squalor and misery and unemployment rolls where other citizens help to carry them.

The words of Johnson outline the premise of the liberal consensus, that given the opportunity individuals would work to The "Great Society" programs that were to enable the change, were for the most part enacted under Johnson during his term in office. This stems largely from his experience and power with Congress. In the context of the liberal consensus the civil rights movement had made some important strides during the 1960's also. The liberal consensus pushed for the integration of schools to allow for minorities to give themselves the education that they needed to participate equally in the job market. Moreover, the liberal consensus pushed for integration and the ideology that individuals if given equal opportunity would be able to solve the problems of discrimination through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The economy of the United States was the most important issue
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