The fear of the subversive has governed American politics, from the racial conflicts of the early republic to the Hollywood anti-Communism of Ronald Reagan. Political monsters—the Indian cannibal, the black rapist, the demon rum, the bomb-throwing anarchist, the many-tentacled Communist conspiracy, the agents of international terrorism—are familiar figures in the dream life that so often dominates American political consciousness. What are the meanings and sources of these demons? Why does the American political imagination conjure them up? Michael Rogin answers these questions by examining the American countersubversive tradition.
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