Many Americans consider John F. Kennedy's presidency to
represent the apex of American liberalism. Kennedy's "Vital Center"
blueprint united middle-class and working-class Democrats and
promoted freedom abroad while recognizing the limits of American
power. Liberalism thrived in the early 1960s, but its heyday was
In Losing the Center, Jeffrey Bloodworth demonstrates how and
why the once-dominant ideology began its steep decline, exploring
its failures through the biographies of some of the Democratic
Party's most important leaders, including Daniel Patrick Moynihan,
Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Bella Abzug, Harold Ford Sr., and Jimmy
Carter. By illuminating historical events through the stories of
the people at the center of the action, Bloodworth sheds new light
on topics such as feminism, the environment, the liberal
abandonment of the working class, and civil rights legislation.
This meticulously researched study authoritatively argues that
liberalism's demise was prompted not by a "Republican revolution"
or the mistakes of a few prominent politicians, but instead by
decades of ideological incoherence and political ineptitude among
liberals. Bloodworth demonstrates that Democrats caused their own
party's decline by failing to realize that their policies
contradicted the priorities of mainstream voters, who were more
concerned about social issues than economic ones. With its unique
biographical approach and masterful use of archival materials, this
detailed and accessible book promises to stand as one of the
definitive texts on the state of American liberalism in the second
half of the twentieth century.
Subjects: History, Political Science
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.