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Governing AmericaThe Revival of Political History$
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Julian E. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150734

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150734.001.0001

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Seeds of Cynicism: The Struggle Over Campaign Finance, 1956–1974

Seeds of Cynicism: The Struggle Over Campaign Finance, 1956–1974

(p.195) Ten Seeds of Cynicism: The Struggle Over Campaign Finance, 1956–1974
Governing America

Julian E. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how antecedent political events created a window of opportunity for campaign finance reformers during the period 1956–1974, including a series of scandals such as Watergate. In the 1960s, campaign finance reform emerged from a reform coalition composed of legislators, experts, philanthropists, foundations, and public interest groups. The coalition succeeded in placing campaign finance reform on the national agenda even without widespread public interest or support. It left intact most of the underlying pressures on campaign finance. For example, they did not tackle the declining importance of political parties, leaving high-cost television as the principal medium of political communication. The chapter highlights the tensions that arose over campaign finance that reached a boiling point when President Richard Nixon began his second term in office.

Keywords:   campaign finance, scandals, Watergate, campaign finance reform, reform coalition, political parties, television, Richard Nixon

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