550: Unit 2

History 550: Politics and Public Policy, Fall 2023

Part II: The History of Political Parties and Factions

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

12 A format (Sept. 28) / 13 B (First reading after Select Board visit). The Rise of New Deal Liberalism

READ: 550 Readings (first) packet, 179-184 AND, at the back of the second 550 Readings packet, after page 159:  Alterman & Mattson, The Cause, pp. 2-12 (the page numbers of the original book).

The reading traces the development of American political ideologies through three phases: Hamilton v. Jefferson; Whigs v. Democrats; and Liberals v. Conservatives (there’ll be more on the conservatives later).  A lot of this should be review from your US history class, which most folks take in 11th grade.  Feel free to bring in information you may recall from taking US history in the 11th grade.

12B/13A. Exeter Select Board visit

We will take a break from the current unit to visit and discuss the Exeter Select Board

14. The rise of conservatism

READ Story & Laurie, Rise of Conservatism, 1-20, and documents 5, 7, 9, 11

What are the key differences between liberals and conservatives?   

15. The Politics of Backlash

READ Alterman & Mattson, excerpts, 238-284; and Story & Laurie, documents 15, 20, 24, 37.

QF: Racism, pure and simple, explains the defection of white working class voters from the Democratic Party.

16. The triumph of conservatism. 

READ Story & Laurie, 20-31 & document #30; Alterman & Mattson, excerpts, 360-427; and the loose HANDOUT: Peter Smith, "Moderate Republicans No Longer Have a Home."

VIEW: This Bush campaign ad that was mentioned on p. 21 of Story and Laurie.  And these two videos from "The West Wing" TV series. Bruno; and "Liberal".

QFs: Democrats pushed the white working class away; Republicans lured them in; Racism was a factor. The DLC saved the Democratic Party.

17. Populism and anti-populism

READ: 550 Readings packet, book 2:  Mounk, "The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy" (in the appendix); Thomas Frank, The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism (available in the bookstore), Introduction.  

(Optional/reference: Frank, 36-41 on how Frank defends populism against charges that populism is backward-looking, hostile to free trade, antagonistic to government agencies, and anti-democratic; 41-47 on charges of racism, nativism, and anti-pluralism; 47-52 on the populists attitude toward meritocracy and expertise.  You can skim this quickly.)  

QF: Populism is anti-democratic.

18. Populism and pseudo-populism.

READ: Frank, 88-98, 104-107, & 196-214; and in 550 Readings Book 2: Gabler, "Arrogance Divide," p. 2-5.

QF: Populism is mostly about scapegoating "enemies of the people." Peak populism was the New Deal.

19. Populism and the liberals

READ: Frank, 228 to end of the book; & 550 Readings Book 2: Wolfe, Future of Liberalism, 5-6; also, VIEW: The Rant that Started the Tea Party Movement, AND this video, with Anne Case and Angus Deaton on "deaths of despair."

QF: If you want to discredit your political opponent, re-define their name to be something odious.

20. Depolarization

READ: 550 Readings Book 2: all of the Depolarization section, 27-53. 

QF: There's a ray of hope.

21. Review. See Study Guide 

22. Second writing assignment. See Study Guide 

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4