Social change advocates won a remarkable series of victories during the 20th century. This study examines both successful and unsuccessful efforts, ranging from the women's suffrage movement of the 1910s to the divisive debate between Gore and Nader supporters during the 2000 election. Halpern details the ingredients essential to shaping progressive campaigns. While left-wing activists sustained grass roots movements and worked with allies in left-center coalitions, trade unions energized by progressive activists gave the efforts institutional weight with crucial assistance from Democratic presidents committed to liberalism.
Frequently facing repression, left-wingers nevertheless managed to pass their values on to their children, who in turn sustained new sets of social movements. Leftists worked alongside other progressives to form left-center coalitions on issues such as Civil Rights and labor law reform. Influenced by liberalism, Roosevelt, Johnson, and Kennedy gave crucial assistance to the social change process. Shying away from liberalism, Carter and Clinton and Vice President Gore failed to provide comparable assistance, disappointing progressive activists and unions and leading to important setbacks. Whether the Democratic Party will once again seek to elect a president with a liberal vision to assist a revitalized labor movement, a newly energized left, and left-center coalitions in the social change process remains to be seen.
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About the Author
MARTIN HALPERN is Professor of History at Henderson State University in Arkansas. He is the author of UAW Politics in the Cold War Era and the lead author of Minority Health in Michigan: Closing the Gap.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Tables
The Labor Movement: Leader of Social Change or Just Another Interest Group?
Children of the Left Sharing Values Across Generations
When Henry Met Franklin
"I'm Fighting for Freedom" Coleman Young, HUAC, and the Detroit Black Community
"From the Top Down or from the Bottom Up?" John F. Kennedy, Executive Order 10988, and the Rise of Public Employee Unionism
Jimmy Carter and the UAW Failure of an Alliance
Arkansas and the Defeat of Labor Law Reform in 1978 and 1994
The Crisis of the Labor Movement in the United States and the Search for a New Vision in Domestic and Foreign Affairs
Gore or Nader? Progressives, Radicals, Labor, and the 2000 Election