American Business, American Politics
This introductory chapter argues that the decline of liberal and progressive politics and the ascent of a business-oriented, neoliberal political culture did not emerge naturally from the exigencies of economic crisis or the inexorable logic of political traditions, but rather as the result of specific efforts by a diverse set of conservative activists. Although their organizational cohesion did not endure, organized American business leaders nonetheless established a vital legacy that continues to shape politics into the twenty-first century. Through their political mobilization, these workhorses of the industrial economy helped establish the political preconditions for the success of conservative politics, electorally and in policymaking. By successfully parlaying their economic clout into a broad-reaching movement, they cemented a conservative and market-oriented political vision whose legacy lingers today.
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