The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics

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Simon & Schuster, 1995 - Alabama - 572 pages
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George Wallace has been called "the most influential loser in American politics". The four-time Alabama governor and four-time presidential candidate launched the conservative political movement that put Ronald Reagan in the White House in 1980 and gave Newt Gingrich and the Republicans control of the Congress in 1994. Historian Dan T. Carter, prize-winning author of Scottsboro, builds upon a decade of research to explain how Wallace transcended his regional parochialism to become the voice of the silent majority. Using newly available research materials on the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations, Carter describes in sharp detail Wallace's pivotal role in shaping national politics from 1963 until the present. George Wallace was the Deep South politician who vowed "segregation forever", and first gave voice to a national backlash against Washington. Through the 1960s and 1970s, he sensed and then exploited the conservative reaction Americans have come to know by many names - white backlash, the silent majority, the alienated voter - and he made a generation of politicians dance to his tune. In 1968 he formed the American Independent Party and ultimately drew the support of nearly fifteen percent of the electorate. By 1972, his political message had become mainstream: a quest for law and order, hostility toward welfare, tax breaks for the middle class, a contempt for "Washington bureaucrats", and a reliance on "common folks with common sense" rather than "pointy-headed pseudo-intellectuals" to chart a return to moral values. More than any other political leader of his generation, Wallace was the alchemist of the new social conservatism that reshaped American politics in the 1970sand 1980s. Richard Nixon was obsessed with destroying or manipulating the Alabamian, whom he blamed for nearly causing his defeat in 1968. Ronald Reagan, as The New York Times concluded, "sailed into the White House" on the "tide George Wallace discovered". And that same tide gave Republicans a smashing victory in 1994 and the first Republican Speaker of the House in forty years.

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THE POLITICS OF RAGE: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics

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Historian Carter (Emory Univ.; When the War Was Over, 1985, etc.) tackles racist demagogue George C. Wallace, four-time governor of Alabama and presidential candidate. American politics is angry ... Read full review

The politics of rage: George Wallace, the origins of the new conservatism, and the transformation of American politics

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Historian Carter's biography of the former Alabama governor and presidential candidate emphasizes Wallace's ability to exploit white racism and social conservatism to further his political career. It ... Read full review



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About the author (1995)

Dan T. Carter is a professor of history at Emory University. He received his B. A. from the University of South Carolina, his M. A. from the University of Wisconsin, and then returned to the University of South Carolina for his Ph.D. Carter wrote From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race and the Conservative Counterrevolution as well as The Politics of Rage: George Wallace and the Rise of New Conservatism and the Transformation of American Politics, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, as well as the Seltzer Prize. Carter's other awards include the Organization of American Historians' Avery Craven Prize, the Jules Landry Prize, the Lillian Smith Award, and the Anisfield Wolfe Award.

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