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date: 08 August 2020

The 1970s

Summary and Keywords

Few decades in the history of America resonate more with the American people than the 1960s. Freedom, justice, and equality seemed to define the immediate futures of many of America’s historically most ostracized citizens. Despite the nostalgia that tends to characterize past and present analyses of the sixties, this imaginative work is important to consider when narrating the subsequent decade: the 1970s. Such nostalgia in considering the 1960s speaks to a sense of loss, or something worked at but not quite achieved in the eyes of the nation and its inhabitants. What happened to their aspirations? Where did they retreat to? And, perhaps more importantly, to what extent did “the spirit” of the 1960s catalyze its antithesis in the 1970s?

In many ways the 1970s was a transitional period for the nation because these years were largely defined by various instances of cultural, or tribal, warfare. These events and their key actors are often under-represented in histories of late-20th-century America, yet they were formative experiences for the nation and their legacy endures in contemporary moments of polarization, division, and contestation. In this sense the 1970s were neither “liberal” nor “conservative,” but instead laid the groundwork for such terms to calcify into the non-negotiable discourse now known simply as the culture wars. The tone of the time was somber for many, and the period may be best understood as having occasioned a kind of “collective nervous breakdown.” For some, the erosion of trust in America’s governing institutions presented an unparalleled opportunity for political and electoral revolution. For others, it was the stuff of nightmares. America had fractured, and it was not clear how the pieces would be put back together.

Keywords: culture, religion, class, war, economics, politics, Christianity, culture war, 1970s, public life

The Spirit of the 1970s

Most scholarly accounts of the 1970s foreground the decade’s much-debated significance in the history of 20th-century America.1 Compared to the preceding decade, which came to be understood as virtually synonymous with “the movement” and its various social aspirations, the 1970s almost from their inception were understood as a selfish decade, leading one of the many interpreters to coin the phrase “the Me Decade.”2 Instead of continuing what could be understood as the postmillennial work of remaking society in the name of civil rights and desegregation, many Americans decided to “turn inward” in order to properly access their “best selves.” Those who were part of “the movement” certainly continued their work into the 1970s, but seemed collectively to lose steam once the nation became fully engaged in martial action halfway around the world in Southeast Asia. Domestic incidents also added to a growing sense of loss and disillusionment, perhaps none more so than the May 1970 shootings of undergraduate students at Kent State University, Ohio, which shocked the nation.

For many the 1960s came to a brutal end as America’s national guard fired upon its own citizens in a fit of misdirected violence on a college campus. In fact, one documentary on the period contends that the 1960s died that day along with the students who fell victim to the guards’ bullets.3 While unrest in various forms had characterized much of America’s public life during the mid-to-late 1960s, including many a college demonstration and take-over, this moment was noticeably different. These were certainly not the first images of disturbing police brutality to enter people’s homes via color TV, but the violence at Kent State seemed to send shockwaves of a different kind. Images of fire hoses and police dogs being used to attack women and children of color in the American South awakened the country to the evils of segregation as an expression of hatred for black bodies. The reporting and images from Kent State—later combined with those documenting the Vietnam War, which were likewise transmitted into living rooms across the country—propelled America into a time of uncertainty and resentment in terms both economic and cultural. The 1960s made possible many of the dreams and aspirations first articulated in the founding documents of the nation, but at what cost to the body politic? How would such changes affect the day-to-day realities of Americans across the country?

In April 1971 a number of Vietnam veterans gathered on the steps of the Capitol to protest at America’s continued involvement in Vietnam under the direction of President Richard Nixon. Mere feet away from a statue of former Chief Justice John Marshall, many of the veterans spoke of governmental hypocrisy when it came to differentiations between enemy combatants and civilians on the ground. Some there had clear consciences because they “did not know” who they had killed in battle, while others had been reprimanded because “they knew” they had killed civilians. Though America had managed to negotiate multiple theaters during its involvement in World War II, this was something different. A war being fought on the other side of the globe now threatened to define public life on the domestic front for the foreseeable future, as the continual deaths and rising body counts transformed the nation into a new kind of conflict zone.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War attempted to make these points by gathering and exercising their constitutional freedom to speak their minds. Many even decided to use their various stars, hearts, and papers as a form of protest, throwing them by “twos and threes” (p. 1) over a makeshift fence in front of the Capitol.4 In response to the growing antipathy, White House Chief of Staff Ronald L. Ziegler addressed the veterans in a measured, though not entirely disinterested, tone, one that was meant to quell any and all potential for violence or misunderstanding. Ziegler said that President Nixon had instructed him and the rest of the administration “to proceed in a way that would not lead to possible violence of any sort and with the understanding that people have a right to express themselves.” He acknowledged that what the veterans understood as the “unreported side” of the war needed expression, yet insisted that it had to be done within Nixon’s parameters. The rest of the 1970s would be no different, but how could a nation express itself when it no longer trusted the government to represent its best interests? The war abroad had come home with a vengeance, pitting “hippies” against “hard hats” in politics, culture, and even religion.

A point that has been largely implicit thus far deserves now to be stated explicitly: unlike the 1960s and 1980s, which tend to possess their own narratives and stories in both the popular imagination and the history books, the 1970s are still very much still in need of similar narrative and imaginative consistency. For some the 1970s laid the groundwork for a conservative revolution that transformed the mid-century liberal consensus into a degregulated, supply-side philosophy that blamed government itself for many of America’s economic struggles.5 Oil crises, inflation, and the not-to-be-forgotten “stagflation” set the scene for new economic solutions to age-old challenges. The surrounding culture did its best to reflect such transitions, for example by giving voice to characters never before seen on television or the silver screen, as in the dark comedy Joe and the even more controversial Deep Throat.

One particularly under-utilized set of stories and narratives from the period came from the reporting of the journalist Paul Cowan in his The Tribes of America.6 Cowan’s assessment of the United States as a series of tribes reflected much social scientific work at the time that described America as an atomizing nation, one that seemed to have less and less common ground for Americans to share and upon which they might organize. In the early decades of the 21st century, scholars have suggested that America underwent a fundamental “fracturing” along the “fault lines” of race, class, gender, and technology.7 Much of this social and political transformation unfolded due to the trauma of war, and at the instigation of those who directed their anger and frustration toward fighting a culture war intended to remake the Republican party along the lines of the newly emerging Sunbelt. Before such restructuring could take place, however, local skirmishes led the way toward a “love it or leave it” mentality that would come to define much of American political life then, and since. Following Cowan’s lead, let us agree to consider the period a moment of “collective nervous breakdown,” an interpretation that facilitates a more complex reading of the 1970s and their ongoing legacy.

Hillers and Creekers

For many, the violence and protest that followed the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortions in Roe vs. Wade set the tone for the decade’s martial character. In fact, many historians and scholars continue to identify this decision as the one that officially gave birth to “the Religious Right.”8 While much of the narrative around these events is debatable, what is certain is that the decision was made with the privacy rights of women in mind. For scholars and journalists alike, the 1970s were notable for their cultivation of largely private issues as the publicly debated material of American public life. This transformation began during the 1960s with the declaration that “the personal was the political,” but it was during the 1970s that the private truly became the stuff of politics.

Two of the more explosive examples of such cultural conflict took place on Wall Street between “hard hats” and “hippies,” and in West Virginia between “the Hillers” and “the Creekers.”9 The Wall Street Riots of May 1970 took place less than a week after the Kent State shootings and involved high schoolers, construction workers, and white-collar workers in full-blown physical warfare. American flags were draped around steel pipes and used to beat anyone whose hair was not close-cropped. In most instances, white-collar workers held the students down to receive the patriotic pipes of the hard hats. This was an early yet singular skirmish in the burgeoning wars of culture that would gradually consume the nation and its public life.

A far less publicized but equally violent clash took place thousands of miles south of New York in Kanawha County, West Virginia. This particular clash was just as explosive as the riots—perhaps even more so. It was sparked by the issue of grade school textbooks.10 While such a subject might seem unlikely to develop into a vicious conflict, it nevertheless reflected the widening cultural fault lines of the period. In particular, these arguments between middle-to-upper-class white Hillers, middle-to-lower-class white Creekers, and Kanawha County school officials reflected a widening socio-economic divide in the country between what many termed “the New Class” of educators, bureaucrats, and local government workers and the “Middle American,” an individual recently discovered by Time and Newsweek who sought an America different from the one described by the Kanawha County school board.11 Prefiguring many aspects of the culture wars in American public life, the Protestant fundamentalism of the Creekers now found itself defending what it took to be timeless truths against the incursions of a largely secular society represented by the Hillers and their bureaucratic allies. And, again like the culture wars more generally, much of the conflict and its interpretation would play out in both the literal court and the court of public opinion.

Almost 230,000 people lived in Kanawha County in 1974. Much of the white community divided along lines of both class and religion, with the Creekers occupying the lower-income areas while the Hillers lived in more affluent communities. Many who lived in the local hollers held jobs as construction workers, coal miners, or truck drivers, and they tended to seek the fire-baptized language of local Pentecostal and Baptist congregations. In fact, many of the Creekers practiced some form of charismatic Christianity that reflected the radical contingency of their collective existence. The Hillers, meanwhile, tended to be professionals. Many of them held jobs as doctors, lawyers, mine managers, and engineers, and their religion was usually more moderate. The disagreement centered around 325 supplemental English textbooks for grades K through 12, which “the Creekers considered dangerous because they appeared to undermine traditional values.” While these two communities grabbed many of the newspaper headlines, a third party was also very much in play between the two factions: school representatives themselves. Widely interpreted as a foreign influence in West Virginia, those who supported the textbooks found common cause with the Hillers, who tended to lean left politically while also resisting the incursion of fundamentalist Christianity into the school system. For Cowan, the terms were simple enough: “It was a holy war between people who depend on books and people who depend on the Book.”12

The Hillers tended to be supportive of the textbooks because they knew their children would be better off for it. But instead of mandating only that individual schools adopt the new textbooks, which featured the writings of Norman Mailer and James Baldwin, the board attempted to make the adoptions mandatory across the entire school district. In many cases, Creekers interpreted these policies as invasive at best and, at worst, detrimental to the local cultures of Kanawha County. This sense was heightened once the driving factor behind the new books was revealed to be a 1970 funding proposal for the area that grounded its mission in a form of technocratic uplift.

In essence, the books were both physical and symbolic representations of a state-driven attempt to change the behavior of “the culturally lost of Appalachia.” In a perfect world, children exposed to such materials would develop the critical faculties necessary to rise above their otherwise limited cultural circumstances in hopes of ascending to the ivy league universities. Instead of simply giving in to such systemic educational changes, various Creekers found a way to fight back through the idioms of religion and violence.

This cultural clash erupted into violence on the ground in 1974. Everything from bullets to fire bombs was used to combat what was understood as a national plot to bring Communism to America. During one particularly violent night on October 9, 1974, fifteen sticks of dynamite were placed under the Charleston West Virginia Board of Education, though only part of the building was demolished in the subsequent blast. Despite the public’s tendency to correlate conservative Protestantism with Creeker arguments against the introduction of the textbooks, many on the Kanawha County school board were raised as Protestant fundamentalists. This background motivated some on the board to promote material that would have been eradicated from any and all conversations overseen by their fundamentalist parents. The Charleston radio host Skeeter Dodd, however, read events quite differently. Like many of his supporters, Dodd saw Armageddon on the horizon if things did not change drastically for the better. He had served in Navy intelligence during the Korean War, and saw much in common between the martial police action of the United States abroad and the local attacks of the Kanawha County school board at home. Dodd found common cause with the lone critic of the textbooks on the school board itself, Alice Moore.

Known as the Creeker community’s “Joan of Arc,” Moore fought passionately against the introduction of the textbooks due to their support of “situational ethics.” When interviewed by Cowan, Moore said she did not see how such texts could benefit children whatsoever. Cowan responded in kind, arguing that he would never send his children to a district that practiced censorship. Responding in a dejected tone, Moore admitted that perhaps the country had reached an impasse when it came to the regulation of education and how best to inculcate critical thinking practices in Kanawha County students. “Maybe,” Moore suggested, “we Americans have come to a parting of the ways.”13 For many, no truer words were spoken when it came to describing the culture wars that would envelop the nation as the 1970s unfolded. The only question was how intense the hostilities would become in this theater of conflict, which more often than not embroiled the children themselves. The sons and daughters of the Creekers resented the children of the Hillers, who attended affluent, resource-rich private schools in the same county. “They can at least respect our rights, since those books do talk about God. And they don’t have to insult our faith or our parents by calling us rednecks.” (Cowan, p. 87)

While many appreciated the resources available in the new books, countless others worried about the repercussions and implications of introducing “foreign” material. One parent reported, “I was going to send my boy to college, but I’ve changed my mind … I’d rather see him become a coal miner or a construction worker than know he was risking his soul.”14 These skirmishes and rhetorical exchanges were anything but inconsequential relative to the larger dramas of Watergate and Roe vs. Wade in the 1970s. If anything, they served as a microcosm of a nation coming apart at the seams, and dangerously close to utter social breakdown. Rumblings of an evangelical revival gave many who resisted the textbooks hope for a brighter future, but would it be in time to save the souls of the those who sought God’s word amid chaos and violence? “Soon we won’t be able to teach them anything,” one concerned teacher remarked. “I don’t think I’ll ever see the children as students again. I’ll see them as spies in my classroom.” (Cowan, p. 89)

The lasting image that Cowan took back with him to New York was of a public rally held on Labor Day, 1974, at the Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia. Upward of 2,000 people attended the rally to support America and the Christian cause. Many of the demonstrators held Bibles in their right hands, and one of the controversial textbooks in their left. At the front of the procession stood Rev. Marvin Horan. He was bathed in light, and positioned perfectly for television and its many audiences at home. “Do we surrender?” Horan asked his eager listeners, “Or do we fight?” He continued, “The school board thinks we’re yellow, but we’re red, white, and blue.”15 The following year Horan was charged with conspiring to bomb two separate elementary schools in the area, revealing the level of discord and violence that had already infected the body politic on both national and local levels. “I would like to think that there is room for the fundamentalists in my America,” Cowan concluded. “But I’m not sure there is room for me in theirs.” Such sentiments both liberal and conservative would not be missed by Republican organizers and strategists looking to mobilize frustrated and resentful communities into a burgeoning constituency of potential voters. Typically rendered as Nixon’s “silent majority,” they were soon recognized as a new target audience by those who considered themselves the New Right of the Republican party.

The New Majority

For too long Republican politics had looked to the East for guidance and electoral direction, but no longer. While the acts of Horan were extreme to say the least, his emotional fervor and ability to use media were well suited to the new era of cultural warfare. If names like William Buckley and Dwight D. Eisenhower had defined Republican politics since World War II, new names would come to the fore during the 1970s to reorient the party away from the Bible Belt and toward the solidifying populist Sunbelt. Among these rising stars were the senator Barry Goldwater, National Review publisher William Rusher, conservative commentator Kevin Phillips, and, most importantly, political strategist Richard Viguerie. While the introduction of Jimmy Carter to the mainstream media by way of his successful presidential run introduced the idea of being “born again” to a diverse and often confused audience, his democratic politics were largely lost amid the determined and focused messaging that came from Rusher, Viguerie, and others who sought to form a new majority party. In many ways, the 1970s were theirs for the taking.

Much of the blueprint for this conservative revolution came from a small, paperback text authored by Rusher and titled The Making of the New Majority Party. Published in 1975, Rusher’s text offered a new vision for a party looking to take political advantage of the frustration articulated by individuals like Horan, Moore, and Dodd. Rusher had published the periodical the National Review since the late 1950s, and by the mid-1970s it was one of American conservatism’s most well respected and widely read periodicals. In addition Rusher wrote a little-known foreword for what was referred to as a “populist manifesto,” A Plague on Both Your Houses, authored by the organizer and political activist Robert W. Whitaker in 1976. Rusher celebrated the fact that he could converse with an intelligent writer who was passionate about the potential of a populist movement within a newly invigorated Republican party. Instead of arguing that the 1970s facilitated a shift to the right or left amid the shattered dreams of the previous decade, this article contends that the decade is understood better when populist sentiment is foregrounded within larger discussions about American political life following the catastrophes of the Vietnam war and the Watergate affair.

In the 1970s both Democrats and Republicans were attempting to win over constituencies by exploiting the nation’s disillusionment with its various governing bodies. While Carter would eventually bring a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to American public life, he did so largely through an “outsider” narrative that emphasized his lack of connection to the formal channels and mechanisms of Washington. As such, Carter would inadvertently contribute to the very socio-economic and cultural factors that had been fueling the growing popularity of deregulatory policy and theory over and against the American government itself. Earlier in the decade, both Rusher and Whitaker sought to tap into the sense of angst, frustration, and resentment among the American people and harness it to the cause of electoral politics and a rebranded Republican party. For some, this strategy came to be understood as a “Southern Strategy.”16 For others, it was politics plain and simple.

Following the literal implosion of the Democratic party in the wake of Nixon’s successful re-election as president in 1972, conservative operatives and strategists began working on remaking America’s political system in order to benefit them and their developing power and influence in American public life. While the Democratic candidate George McGovern attempted to appeal to working-class sensibilities in order to separate how about “conservative voters” from the likes of George Wallace, his plan backfired, as evidenced by the greater success of appeals by Nixon and others—especially among those concerned with what textbooks were being used in their local public schools. A microcosm of such conflicting appeals can be found in the network programming of CBS during the early part of the decade.

Along with CBS, networks such as ABC and NBC were thinking of pursuing more “relevant” material for their various primetime lineups in an effort to appeal to younger and thus more “hip” demographics. Perhaps the most well-known example of such programming, one which sought a more intimate relationship between contemporary events and sitcom plots, was Norman Lear’s All in the Family. The show dominated the decade in terms of ratings and popular appeal; in fact, Archie Bunker’s chair, now housed in the Smithsonian, continues to draw visitors even today. In Archie, the show featured a character never before seen on TV: a loudmouth bigot and racist. Lear positioned Archie front and center not because he supported such utterances, but because he wished to use the character to address racism and bigotry in the American populace at large.

Unfortunately for Lear and his numerous supporters, “the portrayal backfired by giving a very public voice to those who identified with Archie’s claims.” Lear and Rusher were both appealing to the same demographic in hopes of corralling them into a reimagined political constituency. While Lear’s efforts would not go entirely unheeded, it was Rusher and Whitaker who would emerge victorious in the battle to channel political populism in the wake of war, and in the midst of economic stagflation.

In Rusher’s estimation, the Republican party was due for a complete overhaul regarding both its traditional platform and its traditional voters. Rusher had taken over as publisher of the conservative National Review at the request of William Buckley, the magazine’s head editor and another key contributor to America’s conservative resurgence after World War II. At the same time, Buckley also symbolized an older and out-worn version of Republican politics. Rusher used his position to his advantage, and argued against the centrality of individuals like Buckley in the remaking of the Republican party. Much of Rusher’s motivation and purpose in addressing such political challenges originated in Arizona Governor Barry Goldwater’s failed presidential campaign during the 1964 election. Ironically, Goldwater’s failure had greater implications for Rusher and others than his winning would have done.

Goldwater’s campaign not only brought new voters and constituencies into the political process within the growing Sunbelt, but also introduced a revolutionary new organizing tool that would transform American political life: direct mail. Following Goldwater’s defeat in 1964, Republicans like Rusher, Phillips, and Viguerie—all products of Young Americans for Freedom in various capacities—went about remaking the party in the image of Goldwater along very particular lines of policy: anti-statism, tax cuts, combating moral decay, and a vigorous form of patriotism. They also took advantage of Goldwater’s donor lists in laying the foundations for what Rusher called “the New Majority Party.”

For Rusher and Whitaker the terms of political engagement with reference to the socio-economic landscape of America needed to shift. In The Making of the New Majority Party, Rusher argued that American society could be best characterized according to what individuals produced, or did not produce, relative to the broader economy. This characterization built upon criticisms of intellectuals, academics, political commentators, and journalists that had been regularly articulated within the Nixon administration, particularly through the derogatory catch-all term “Eggheads” and the all-important image of the “limousine liberal.”17 Such criticisms reflected broader social and cultural currents of thought and argument that lambasted public institutions and their lack of efficiency relative to the private sector. As such, those who worked at public universities came to be viewed with particular suspicion by conservatives—especially those who thought academic support for youth activism and mobilization during the 1960s had been misguided at best and “unamerican” at worst. Those who leveled specific criticism at Berkeley and Columbia students found common cause with Rusher and his colleagues, but they also had their own tradition of conservative argument, namely a Neoconservative one.

In dividing American society into the simple categories of those who produced and those who did not, Rusher articulated a new economic division, or cleavage, that pitted:

the producers—businessmen, manufacturers, hard-hats, blue collar workers, and farmers—against the new and powerful class of nonproducers comprised of a liberal verbalist elite (the dominant media, the major foundations, and research institutions, the educational establishment, the federal and state bureaucracies) and a semi-permanent welfare constituency.18

While someone like Archie Bunker (who grew up during the heyday of the New Deal) may once have identified with the latter group, he would eventually come to identify more with his fellow workers than with people like his son-in-law, who was a sociology major at a local college. This latter group was sometimes labeled “the new class,” those whose interests were attuned to the times and whose politics leaned to the left. Little did Bunker’s creator know that satirical representations of “hard hats” like Archie ultimately worked against the larger agenda of bringing real-life Archies into the democratic fold. Rusher would make sure that any and all avenues of change entertained by Archie led to the new majority party he and others were in the midst of manufacturing under the guise of a remade Grand Old Party (GOP).

Compared to the New Deal’s attention to concerns of class and labor, post-World War II liberalism had a very different set of priorities relative to working-class communities. As witnessed during the 1968 and 1972 Democratic conventions, American liberalism itself was beginning to shift away from the socio-economic concerns of the 1963 August 28 on Washington, which had emphasized jobs and freedom, to a far less stable commitment to identity and culture.19 As mentioned previously, the 1960s, broadly considered, made possible the declaration that the personal was political regardless of what it looked like or sounded like. As a result, American politics itself became more about cultural or social concerns and debates than about such issues as employment or fair housing. Writers and producers like Norman Lear would seem to have been perfectly situated to use culture by way of the sitcom to make political appeals to disgruntled voters. However, this was not to be the case. If anything, due to the activism and writing of Rusher, those in the entertainment and education professions were painted as out-of-touch “verbalists” who depended as much on their constituents as they did on their educational backgrounds for their continued relevance in American public life. Rusher would take this argument even further.

“In the name of social justice, government was assuming vast new obligations to various elements of the population,” Rusher argued.

The cost of these commitments was briskly shifted onto the producing sectors of the society … beginning with the black population, but gradually augmenting this base with every “minority” in the American society that could be sensitized, mobilized, and “liberated,” the liberal verbalists in the leadership of the new class struggled to maintain the political initiative and with it their control of the American society.20

These accusations were certainly the stuff of politics as defined by a vigorous contestation of power, but they were also more than that. They were the stuff of culture war. Rusher and others in the New Right went after the varied sources of liberal progressive power as they understood them in order to topple what one populist author referred to America’s “Establishments” (Whitaker, 1976); in this case, Rusher focused his attention and commentary on both establishments simultaneously, conservative and liberal, in order to reform one and dismantle the other seemingly from the inside.21

While Rusher’s ultimate goal was to reorient the Republican party away from the likes of William Buckley, and more toward the campaigns of Goldwater and later Reagan, he also worked toward much bigger and more substantive goals: (a) to identify America’s political power structure, and (b) to chip away at its sources of liberal power and cultural influence. Rusher focused his analytical attention on identifying the “social conservative” alongside the economic conservative. The two groups had a great deal in common, but for Rusher it was the social conservatives—epitomized in those who challenged the decisions of the school boards in Kanawha County—who were most ripe for his and others’ appeals to their sense of patriotism and desire to defend “wholesome” cultural and racial mores. In many ways, Rusher fanned the flames of discontent and resentment in order to activate and mobilize these otherwise disinterested citizens into a constituency—one that was tailored perfectly for the new majority Rusher sought within the husk of the GOP.

The social conservative “has no use for ‘bums’ and resents their attempts to make claims upon him,” Rusher states. He continues:

His distrust of the big guy, which frequently evolves into a frank dislike of Big Business, engenders an almost equal distaste for bigness in any form—including even Big Labor, not to mention Big Media, and that largest monster of them all, Big Government.22

Identifying such “bigness” served two purposes for Rusher and his allies: it furthered their own cause of wedding economic and social conservatism by way of various social issues, such as abortion or school textbooks; and it amplified the broader contemporary criticisms of oversized governmental agencies populated by non-producers. In these ways Rusher devised a playbook that would carry various conservative candidates to congressional and mayoral positions as well as to the position of president itself well into the 21st century.

In other words, Rusher disseminated an approach to politics from within the GOP that foregrounded criticisms of the very institutions conservatives were attempting to become a part of themselves. Rusher would find common cause with many fellow conservatives—including Phillips, Viguerie, and the politician Pat Buchanan—in his attempts to build a new Republican majority based on the social issues of the day, including gender, race, and sexuality. Whitaker’s writings and analyses also remained crucial. Rusher found Whitaker’s work articulate and persuasive, and particularly approved Whitaker’s commitment to populism and the common ground it shared with social conservatives. In shifting emphasis from the East to the West when it came to the future of Republican politics, Rusher grounded his vision on an otherwise unpredictable sensibility that revolted against civil structures without necessarily knowing why. As such, Rusher incorporated populism within the GOP as a key component of its reimagined purpose. The questions this raised were relatively straightforward: how would this melting pot react when Rusher and others turned up the heat, and who would combat these means of conservative constituency-making in American public life?

Archie to the Rescue?

For many, the character of Archie Bunker defined the 1970s. He was loud, obnoxious, and funny; he was also known for delivering racial and ethnic diatribes directed against his neighbors and members of his own family. All in the Family, the TV show in which he appeared, received much critical acclaim. While many of his outbursts were presented in a satirical manner by the show’s producers and writers, those at home had to be aware of that satire in order to understand the show’s larger didactic purpose: to instruct its varying audiences on the detrimental effects of racism and bigotry on the American populace and the nation’s diverse inhabitants.

In many instances, however, the show’s audiences laughed with the main character as much as they laughed at him. The success of this satirical instruction depended largely on deploying stereotypes about white working-class life in order to illustrate the undesirable nature of this racial epithet or that misogynist comment. In other words, the show’s not inconsiderable social impact on the 1970s recapitulated many of the negative and condescending assumptions and accusations that were leveled at the Creekers in defense of the board-approved textbooks in Kanawha County. But many viewers identified with Archie and found in him a public validation of their views. In this sense the 1970s, partly through popular culture such as All in the Family, gave rise to a largely populist sensibility that distrusted governmental and educational authority and instead valorized local knowledge as superior. Writers such as Rusher and Whitaker attempted to transform and cultivate such sentiments into electoral aspiration and mobilization, while the show’s creators were content with placing the show’s protagonist at the center of the drama at whatever cost to his own views and opinions.

All in the Family premiered on CBS after ABC and NBC turned down the controversial subject matter. It aired alongside other programs of “relevance” including The Mary Tyler Moore Show and MASH. The show’s creator, Norman Lear, adapted the British television show Till Death Do Us Part to an American context by reflecting the original’s emphasis on class and working-class life. Unlike the British version, however, much of the content of All in the Family sprang from Lear’s own biography as a Jewish American who grew up during the Neal Deal and the Great Depression. As part of the “relevance” moment in American television history, All in the Family was not merely a primetime sitcom—it was a virtual classroom with Lear as its instructor.23 Lear had grown up living close to Yale University, where quotas limited Jewish matriculation. He also loved his crystal radio as a child, through which he discovered both the fireside chats of FDR, and the anti-Semitic diatribes of Father Charles Coughlin. As such, Lear’s programming always had a civic dimension, providing laughter and entertainment only as part of a broader campaign to defend the first amendment and the various protections it offered to religious minorities.

Archie Bunker’s iconicity and continued relevance are intimately related to these creative aspirations, but to what extent did this cultural production exacerbate the very lines of conflict first witnessed in Kanawha County, and later outlined by Rusher and Whitaker in the cause of social conservatives and a new majority party? To Lear, individuals like Archie, whose retrograde way of thinking was largely excluded from public or civil discourse, were destined for the dustbins of history. For Whitaker, Archie’s frustrations were the raw material upon which conservatives like Rusher would draw in remaking the Republican party, and arguably American political life itself, along the lines of the all-important “social issue.”

“As of the beginning of 1976, it appears that themes of the new age are those Republicans cannot emphasize,” argued Whitaker. “They would have to stress social issues very hard indeed to overcome in the minds of working people the image of Republicanism as a tool of big business.”24 To Whitaker’s delight in many ways, All in the Family was nothing if not a running commentary on and application of social issues in the venue of primetime, sitcom-based television from a largely progressive viewpoint. In fact, for the hundreds of millions of viewers who tuned in every week, Lear’s larger vision was inseparable from the content of the show itself during each episode. Subject matter ranged from racism to discrimination to women’s rights to the Vietnam War. Rather than focus on more “traditional” subjects of politics, such as the economy or taxes, Lear foregrounded the most pressing and controversial material at the time in the name of what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defined “public interest.” If the clarion call of the 1960s had been to make the personal political, then the 1970s were largely about the fallout from that declaration, and how it made its way into American society and its popular culture through the medium of television.

As populists like Whitaker looked to the political future, he worried that Republicans would have difficulty speaking this social language to those who might be wary. After all, the conservative alternative to President Carter, one Ronald Reagan, was a “Wilshire Boulevard conservative” with little or no connection to the working class. However, all was not lost. For Whitaker, the key lay in the movements of those who defended the local, Bible-based wisdom of the Creekers, and those who laughed along with Archie as opposed to those who laughed at him. As Archie and others like him began to adopt more conservative ways of thinking, thereby facilitating their gradual departure from the Democratic party, individuals like Whitaker saw endless electoral potential. “By moving out of the Democratic Party,” Whitaker argues, “[the working class] will begin the new political age.”

Lear did his best in both his programming and his civic activism to combat these developments, at least as he understood them. Despite knowing of Rusher and his writings as a conservative, Lear nevertheless had his own assumptions about conservatives and the Christian Right, and these compromised his engagement with the conservative ideas and argument gaining momentum during the second half of the 1970s. Looking back on a contentious decade following Reagan’s election in 1980, Lear authored a chapter entitled “Liberty and its Responsibilities” for a collection published by Columbia University Press.25 While the larger collection concerned issues of broadcast journalism, Lear focused his attention and analysis on the social issues that continued to plague the nation and its populace.

Part of a longer tradition of “framing” conservatives and the Christian Right in uncomplimentary terms, Lear’s chapter captured the means and manner in which progressives would combat the growing appeal of a populist-infused new majority of American conservatives during the 1970s.26 In a cautionary tone, Lear reminded his readers that the notorious “televangelists” were not only misguided, but also dangerous and thus a threat to American democracy. Individuals such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Jim Bakker sparked Lear’s ire because their arguments verged on the anti-Semitic. They also threatened the separation of church and state itself. “Our founding fathers never treated the God they worshipped as the creator of a political platform—or as a rubber stamp to imprint private doctrines on public policy,” argued Lear. Those who brought their politics into the pulpit, the Falwells and Robertsons of the world, compromised a fundamental assumption held by Lear and other religious liberals about American public life and its proper maintenance: that all claims should be equally respected, regardless of religious, racial, and sexual grounding. This was not the case with the televangelists.

“It’s important that we not be misled into thinking that these are simply old-fashioned throwbacks—like the Bible-thumping, openly racist, blatantly anti-Semitic whackos of another era,” Lear argued. He went on:

These are revivalistic salesmen—entrepreneurs—who have a genius for responding to the market’s desire for stable values … these fundamentalist preachers have their fingers and their computers on the pulse of the emotional needs of the crowd. And that is power.27

Despite his obvious biases, the very same ones that shaped Lear’s depiction of Archie and his purpose in All in the Family, Lear read the potential of the conservative challenge correctly as understood through “the Electronic Church.” Televangelists understood the power of technology to measure a given populace according to its frustrations and resentments directed toward Washington, public school curricula, and academia. Despite the popularity of Lear’s All in the Family and its ability to create water-cooler talk the day after each episode’s airing, the show’s influence apparently paled in comparison to the connection preachers had with their respective congregants as disseminated through the latest forms of media: television and direct mail. This type of socio-political contestation, one that Americans witnessed firsthand in living rooms the country over, set the parameters for what would eventually be termed the culture wars.

Lear’s contribution foregrounded social issues in order to draw attention to them and thus protect the public sphere. Rusher, Whitaker, and others deployed “the social issue” in order not only to awaken the political sensibilities of Middle Americans, but also to redirect any and all working-class frustrations toward a new majority party within the Republican party. Despite Lear’s best attempts to responsibly address the most relevant issues of the day as he understood them, his depiction of Archie Bunker as part of the white working class ultimately worked against his larger civic aspirations. If Rusher’s goal was to take advantage of such frustrations politically, then Lear’s goal was to bring attention to the very same constituency on anything but their own terms. Instead, Lear himself defined the terms of engagement, and did so as an extension of his understanding of the Spirit of Liberty and the American Way of doing politics as the product of consensus-formation. After all, it was not simply liberty that Lear spoke about in his book chapter or in his programming, but rather the responsibilities of those tasked with its defense, execution, and application in American public life. The tumult of the 1960s may have given way to this process, but the 1970s made that transformation possible in the form of a remade Republican party and those who sought to combat it.

The 1970s and the Birth of Two Americas

As a decade, the 1970s present scholars with a multitude of interpretive challenges. For many, the 1970s can be best understood as “the Me Decade,” when the idealists of the 1960s turned in on themselves in response to the failure of their revolutionary dreams. For others, the 1970s can be narrated politically as the culminating moment for those who sought to establish “social justice” on the streets and in the pulpits once and for all. Still others contend that the period gave birth to the type of conservatism that made the presidential careers of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump possible, allowing them to govern in the name of a new majority party.

This article has highlighted three particular moments in order to present a renewed narrative of the 1970s, one that covers the Vietnam War, the rise of Jimmy Carter, and stagflation, but does so through the prism of the white working class and those who sought to address their concerns along liberal and conservative lines. The tumultuous events of the 1960s bled into the 1970s quite literally when the national guard shot multiple students on the campus of Kent State University. This moment, along with cultural products like Easy Rider, set the terms for a type of combat seldom before seen in American public life: cultural warfare. As those on the streets argued, politics suffused everything—even such topics as sexuality, gender, and race. Organizing around the burning “social issue,” both liberals and conservatives during this period sought to out-flank each other in addressing the American populace and its more frustrated constituents: the Middle Americans.

By the end of the decade, scholars contend that “two Americas” came into being as products of culture war, collective disillusionment, and calculated appeals to working-class resentments. One was the America of Lear and likeminded liberals; the other was the America of Rusher, Whitaker, and their Middle American supporters. Archie Bunker was the iconic representation of those Middle Americans, and brought attention to the economic plight of himself and those like him. Yet, at the same time, Lear’s viewers never truly “met” Archie, or got to know him, due to the satirical presentation of his desires. Individuals like Rusher and Whitaker worked alongside such communities because they understood the intimate relationship between their own collective electoral futures, and the future of the nation.

For Rusher, the new majority needed the populist support of someone like Whitaker in order to bring about the transformation envisioned by himself and others in the New Right. For Lear and his religious liberal supporters, separating “Archie” and what he represented from the writings of Rusher, Falwell, and others was nearly impossible. The culture wars that began during the previous decade had accelerated and intensified following the fallout from the Vietnam War and the Watergate affair. Hippies and hard-hats did battle in the streets in defense of their respective claims to the flag, constitutional liberty, and American patriotism itself. Far from being a largely forgettable decade, the 1970s were nothing short of transformative in terms of American public life, for they established fault lines that continue even today to divide the populace against itself in the field of electoral politics.

Discussion of the Literature

Compared with other decades, such as the 1960s, the 1970s have been relatively little explored in regards to both the primary and secondary literatures. While this trend began to change around the year 2010, the 1960s and 1980s still very much dominate the discourse. Among the reasons for this are the stereotypes associated with the decade. For many, the pet rock epitomizes the 1970s perfectly: it just sat there. For others, the period’s wacky character confuses as much as it compels additional study. While topics such as the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the rise of Jimmy Carter do receive scholarly attention, the rise of disco, the prevalence of cults, and platform shoes seem to discourage closer studies of the period and its politics. In many ways the interpretive tradition began with the writings of the journalist Tom Wolfe. Having begun his journalistic career in the 1960s, it was Wolfe who branded the 1970s “the Me Decade” in his 1982 collection, The Purple Decades: A Reader. He tethered this interpretation to his observations on the “Third Great Awakening” in American public life, which focused on the “holy-rolling religion” of President Carter and the spiritual experimentation taking place in retreats such as Esalen in Big Sur, California. He also documented the history of Scientology as one of many “Me Movements” in American public life.

Reappraisals of the 1970s that challenged Wolfe and others’ characterizations began appearing during the early 1980s.28 In particular, It Seemed Like Nothing Happened: America in the 1970s, by the historian Peter N. Carroll, was the first monograph to criticize Wolfe and others specifically for their collective shortsightedness.29 Carroll largely blamed “the media” for creating the idea that the 1970s had very little to offer concerned commentators as the country continued to reel from the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Kent State shootings. Carroll vehemently disagrees with that narrative, instead arguing that the 1970s witnessed a country-wide search for “roots” amid feelings of anomie, resentment, and growing fear. The country had experienced a moment of deconstruction, one in which the trusted institutions of the nation fell short when they were needed most. Both the left and the right would attempt to mobilize that discontent, but in the end it was the New Right that was most successful in harnessing these emotions for electoral gain. Carroll’s short summary of his book in The Antioch Review is essential reading for surveyors of this period.

One of the most significant yet underappreciated sources on this period is America’s Quest for the Ideal Self: Dissent and Fulfillment in the 60s and 70s, by the professor of social thought Peter Clecak. Unlike previous treatments, Clecak argued that the 1960s and 1970s were more closely aligned than many had assumed or anticipated. Drawing upon the image of “fulfillment,” which implicitly countered Wolfe’s negative appraisal, Clecak contended that the two decades built upon one another in the American people’s desire for experimentation and off-the-grid exploration. “Despite clear differences in mood and attitude,” Clecak contends, “I believe that this episode was unified by a central cultural theme: a quest for personal fulfillment, a pursuit of free, gratified, unalienated self within one or more communities of valued others.”30 Compared to Paul Cowan’s depiction of America as a collection of “tribes” as described in Tribes of America: Journalistic Discoveries of our People and their Cultures, Clecak connected the self-discovery of the 1960s to the wish for self-fulfillment that unfolded in the 1970s. More balanced treatments of the period would soon follow.

It was not until the early 2000s that the 1970s were made the subject of a definitive treatment. Historian Bruce Shulman’s appropriately titled The Seventies: The Great Shift in Culture, Society, and Politics argued that the 1970s had been vastly misrepresented in the scholarly literature as a largely forgettable decade best known for its bad hair, bad music, and bad clothing.31 Instead, Shulman argued that the 1970s could be understood as the most significant decade in explaining and interpreting contemporary America and its largely conservative political culture. Schulman’s attention to “the reddening” of America encouraged scholars to look west toward the Sunbelt for interpretive guidance in tracing conservative mobilization efforts following the defeat of Goldwater. In short, Shulman’s text inaugurated a closer reading of the decade and its place in late-20th-century American history across the historical profession. In Shulman’s wake followed numerous collections on the 1970s, including America in the Seventies, edited by Beth Bailey and David Farber, and Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, by Bruce Shulman and Julian Zelizer.32 For some historians, America underwent a gradual shift to the right both politically and culturally during this period, yet for others the 1970s were more closely linked to the radical politics of the previous decade.

For the historian Jefferson Cowie, the 1970s were significant not simply because of the prevalence of political conservatism, but also because they witnessed the death of what he calls the working class, an experience not unrelated to the struggles of the Bunkers in All in the Family.33 A 2008 roundtable in the Journal of Contemporary History continued this discussion by exploring the relationship between the 1960s and 1970s as one of mutual support.34 For the roundtable’s participants, the 1970s were best understood as the 1960s to a disco beat. In following the lead of Shulman and others, subsequent analyses of the period have broadened their scope in both historical and thematic terms. Texts such as Robert Self’s All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s, Daniel Rodgers’s Age of Fracture, and Kevin Kruse and Julian Zelizer’s Fault Lines: A History of the United States since 1974 have collectively blazed a trail for future studies of the period that examine culture, race, gender, and sexuality during the culture wars.35 As a whole, this literature contends that the 1970s have been vastly underestimated and misunderstood relative to the 1960s and the 1980s, not only in the scholarship on late-20th-century American public life, but also in the popular imagination.

Primary Sources

Washington University in St. Louis possesses an important collection that explores the cultural, social, economic, and environmental developments of the period by way of finding aids and online-friendly searches. In particular, the collection includes material on Black Film and conferences on Men and Masculinity. The University of Missouri’s Library webpage features an equally helpful collection and finding aid that features government documents as primary sources between 1970 and 1979. Links to census data and declassified documents make this site a rich resource for future scholarly work. Elon University hosts a primary source collection on the 1970s that foregrounds presidential, environmental, and political sources including the Watergate Files and digital resources of the Vietnam Center and Archive. Perhaps most significantly, the National Archives possesses a collection with material designed specifically for students and teachers. Located on its website, specific primary documents have been organized into research sets that explore the environment, politics, and culture in student-friendly ways. For those interested in gender and sexuality documents, Duke University hosts an online collection, “Women’s Liberation Movement Print Culture,” that features letters, manifestos, and essays addressing women’s history and development during the 1960s and 1970s. Finally, the University of Washington hosts an impressive collection titled “The Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project” that foregrounds the historic relationship between civil and labor rights in the public sphere. It also hosts a valuable collection on LGBTQ sources including newspapers and magazines, many which are available to those outside the university proper.

Further Reading

Bailey, Beth L., and David Farber, eds. America in the Seventies. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004.Find this resource:

Berger, Dan. The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Berkowitz, Edward D. Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Binkley, Sam. Getting Loose: Lifestyle Consumption in the 1970s. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Borstelmann, Thomas. The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012.Find this resource:

Carroll, Peter N. It Seemed as if Nothing Happened: The Tragedy and Promise of America in the 1970s. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1982.Find this resource:

Clecak, Peter. America’s Quest for the Ideal Self: Dissent and Fulfillment in the 60s and 70s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.Find this resource:

Cowan, Paul. The Tribes of America: Journalistic Discoveries of Our People and Their Cultures. New York: New Press, 2008. This work was originally published in 1971.Find this resource:

Cowie, Jefferson. The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class. New York: New Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Echols, Alice. Shaky Ground: The 60’s and its Aftershocks. New York: Columbia University, 2002.Find this resource:

Ferguson, Niall, et al., eds. The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Flippen, Brooks J. Jimmy Carter, the Politics of Family, and the Rise of the Religious Right. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Frank, Thomas. The Conquest of Cool: Business, Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Frum, David. How We Got Here: The 70’s, the Decade that Brought You Modern Life (for Better or Worse). New York: Basic Books, 2000.Find this resource:

Hall, Simon. American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements since the Sixties. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Inness, Sherrie A. Disco Divas: Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Jacobs, Meg. Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s. New York: Macmillan, 2016.Find this resource:

Kent, Stephen A. From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam War Era. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2001.Find this resource:

Kirshner, Jonathan. Hollywood’s Last Golden Age: Politics, Society, and the Seventies Film in America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012.Find this resource:

Kohler-Hausman, Julilly, Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

Kruse, Kevin, and Julian E. Zelizer. Fault Lines: A History of the United States since 1974. New York: W. W. Norton, 2019.Find this resource:

Phillips-Fein, Kim. Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics. New York: Henry Holt, 2017.Find this resource:

Rodgers, Daniel. Age of Fracture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Rymsza-Pawlowska, Malgorzata J. History Comes Alive: Public History and Popular Culture in the 1970s. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.Find this resource:

Sandbrook, Dominic. Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.Find this resource:

Self, Robert. All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012.Find this resource:

Shulman, Bruce. The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics. New York: Free Press, 2001.Find this resource:

Shulman, Bruce, and Julian Zelizer, eds. Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Slocum-Schaffer, Stephanie A. America in the Seventies. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Waldrep, Shelton. The Seventies: The Age of Glitter in Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 2000.Find this resource:

Wolfe, Tom. The Purple Decades: A Reader. New York: Berkley Books, 1987.Find this resource:

Wu, Judy Tzu-Chun. Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Zaretsky, Natasha. No Direction Home: The American Family and the Fear of National Decline, 1968–1980. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.Find this resource:


(1.) For one such account, see Thomas Borstelman, The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011). For a useful summary article, see Charles L. Ponce de Leon, “How Pivotal were the Seventies?” Reviews in American History 40, no. 1 (March 2012): 128–138.

(3.) Jonathan Halperin, dir., The Day the Sixties Died: The Kent State Shootings (Arlington, VA: PBS Broadcasting, 2015).

(4.) “Veterans Discard Medals In War Protest at Capitol,” The New York Times (Apr 24 1971): 1.

(7.) Dan Rodgers, Age of Fracture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).

(8.) For more, see Andrew Lewis, The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

(9.) For more, see Louis Benjamin Rolsky, “Wall Street Goes to War: Hardhat Politics and the Culture War of Everything since the 1960s,” Marginalia: Los Angeles Review of Books, February 29, 2016.

(10.) For more, see Ann Page and Donald Clelland, “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of the Politics of Life Style Concern,” Social Forces 57, no. 1 (September 1978): 265–281.

(11.) “Man and Woman of the Year: The Middle Americans,” Time Magazine, January 5, 1970.

(12.) Cowan, The Tribes of America, 79.

(13.) Cowan, The Tribes of America, 85.

(14.) Cowan, The Tribes of America, 87.

(15.) Cowan, The Tribes of America, 92.

(16.) For the most comprehensive appraisal of this idea, see Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields, The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019).

(17.) For more, see Steve Fraser, The Limosine Liberal: How an Incendiary Image United the Right and Fractured America (New York: Basic Books, 2016).

(18.) William A. Rusher, The Making of the New Majority Party (Ottawa, IL: Green Hill, 1975), 14.

(19.) Neil Jumonville and Kevin Mattson, eds., Liberalism for a New Century (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2007).

(20.) Rusher, The Making of the New Majority Party, 33.

(21.) Robert W. Whitaker, A Plague on Both Your Houses (New York: Robert B. Luce, 1976).

(22.) Rusher, The Making of the New Majority Party, 39

(23.) David Farber and Beth Bailey, The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003).

(24.) Robert W. Whitaker, A Plague on Both Your Houses (New York: Robert B. Luce, 1976), 192.

(25.) Marvin Barrett, ed., Broadcast Journalism, 1979–1981: The Eighth Alfred I. DuPont Columbia University Survey (New York: Everest House, 1982).

(26.) Jon Shields, “Framing the Christian Right: How Progressives and Post-War Liberals Constructed the Religious Right,” Journal of Church and State 53, no. 4 (Autumn 2011): 635–655.

(27.) Norman Lear, “Liberty and Its Responsibilities,” in Barrett, Broadcast Journalism, 1979–1981, 13.

(28.) Peter Carroll, “It Seemed Like Nothing Happened,” The Antioch Review 41, no. 1 (Winter 1983): 5–19.

(29.) Peter N. Carroll, It Seemed Like Nothing Happened: America in the 1970s (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1982).

(30.) Peter Clecak, America’s Quest for the Ideal Self: Dissent and Fulfillment in the 60s and 70s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 6.

(31.) Bruce Shulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in Culture, Society, and Politics (New York: Da Capo Press, 2002).

(32.) Shulman and Zelizer, Rightward Bound.

(33.) Jefferson Cowie, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (New York: New Press, 2012).

(34.) Meg Jacobs and Julian Zelizer, “Comment: Swinging Too Far to the Left,” Journal of Contemporary History 43, no. 4 (October 2008): 689–693.