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Lobbying AmericaThe Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA$
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Benjamin C. Waterhouse

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149165

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149165.001.0001

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From Consensus to a Crisis of Confidence

From Consensus to a Crisis of Confidence

(p.14) Chapter 1 From Consensus to a Crisis of Confidence
Lobbying America

Benjamin C. Waterhouse

Princeton University Press

This chapter outlines the political, economic, and cultural changes that combined to enflame business's “crisis of confidence” and incite its political mobilization in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It suggests that this experience marked a departure from the early postwar years often described as one of “liberal consensus.” Traditionally, the liberal consensus framework argued that the intense class-oriented battles between labor and business of the Progressive and New Deal periods cooled down after the war, when Cold War imperatives prompted both sides to unite around ideals of liberal democracy and the promise of mass consumption. However, recent scholarship has convincingly demonstrated that many prominent business leaders never accepted New Deal-style liberalism and in fact campaigned actively and vehemently for its rollback from the 1930s onward.

Keywords:   business, political mobilization, liberal consensus, class-oriented battles, New Deal, Progressive period, Cold War, liberalism

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