Document questions


Please write a post answering and numbering the questions below.
1. What reasons do the documents reveal for the declining fortunes of liberalism and the growing appeal of conservatism in the 1970s and 1980s? What role did economic issues, social and cultural issues, and racial issues play in this political shift?
2. What are the major differences in the way liberals and the left (Cuomo and Nader) and conservatives (RNC, Armey, Kristol) interpreted the nation’s problems?

Please use the attached sources only.
Summary of sources:
Dick Armey, The Freedom Revolution (1995): In this book, House Minority Leader, Republican Dick Armey, issued a far-reaching agenda. Armey insisted that the fall of communism and the increasing pace of globalization offered Americans an opportunity to discard failed liberal policies and achieve “the limited government that the founders intended.”

Jerry Falwell, The Fundamentalist Phenomenon (1981): During the 1970s, evangelical Christianity (a style of Protestantism based on belief in personal conversion through direct interaction with God) experienced significant growth and became increasingly involved in conservative politics. One of the most influential leaders of the religious right, Reverend Jerry Falwell led a church in Virginia, hosted a popular radio and television show, and founded Liberty Baptist College. In 1979, he founded the Moral Majority, a political organization designed to employ the influence of evangelical Christians. The group dissolved in 1989 after a series of scandals.

Jimmy Carter “Energy and National Goals” (1979): Jimmy Carter faced a stagnant economy and international crises that severely undermined his popularity. In an attempt to respond to high energy prices and gas shortages, Carter invited dozens of prominent Americans to Camp David; he spent a week listening to advice, then he gave a nationally televised speech.

Mario Cuomo, “A Tale of Two Cities” (1984): In this keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1984, New York governor Mario Cuomo criticized the Reagan Revolution.

Peter Schrag, “The Forgotten America” (1969): In this article in Harper’s, journalist Peter Schrag explains the collapse of Lyndon Johnson’s liberal consensus (itself a reinvigoration of the New Deal coalition) as a result of white, working-class resentment of 1960s liberal policies.

Republican National Committee, Contract with America (1994): Using policy ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, Republican Party leaders issued this statement during the 1994 congressional elections. Almost all Republicans in Congress and running for Congress signed this agenda, much of which they implemented after winning control of the legislature

Richard Nixon, “Acceptance Speech at the Republican National Convention” (1968): Nixon made a remarkable political comeback in the second half of the 1960s by appealing to Republicans’ need to court the political center. Here, he accepts the Republican nomination and appeals to the “forgotten Americans” whose needs, he argues, had been overlooked in the 1960s.

Robert Reich, The Work of Nations (1991): In this 1992 book, Harvard University political economist Robert Reich, who served as Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration, wrote about the effects of globalization on the American economy and labor force.

Ronald Reagan, “Address to the National Association of Evangelicals” (1983): In this address to the National Association of Evangelicals, President Reagan responded to nuclear freeze activists. The activists mounted protests designed to achieve a “freeze” on the testing, production, and development of nuclear weapons.

Ronald Reagan, “Inaugural Address” (1981): In his 1981 inaugural address, Reagan made conservatism a forward-looking ideology and described his “Reagan Revolution” as a crusade to restore American freedom by scaling back government and restore global freedom by rekindling the Cold War.


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