Constructing and reconstructing the New Deal regime
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It is commonly asserted that the New Deal order eroded in American politics between 1964 and 1972, laying the groundwork for the rise of American conservatism. On the contrary, liberal reforms proliferated during these years. This project argues that the principles of the New Deal regime were rearticulated and redirected towards new issue agendas and constituencies during this critical era. This period should be understood as an era when the New Deal regime was reconstructed upon a redirection and reinterpretation of the regime’s traditional principles, resulting in new public policy priorities and a rearrangement of the regime’s coalition partners. Through an examination of the civil rights movement, the New Left, George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign and the Johnson Administration’s Great Society programs, this account suggests that the New Deal regime was reshaped, not eroded, by the political disruption of this critical era in American politics. The reconstructed regime integrated commitments to civil rights and post-materialist policy agendas alongside traditional economic and social welfare commitments that traced their origins back to the New Deal of the 1930’s.