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Don't Blame UsSuburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party$
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Lily Geismer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157238

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157238.001.0001

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Political Action for Peace

Political Action for Peace

(p.123) 5 Political Action for Peace
Don't Blame Us

Lily Geismer

Princeton University Press

This chapter demonstrates how the Vietnam War forced residents to grapple with the central role of defense spending in shaping the economy and labor market of the Route 128 area. The MIT scientists and Raytheon engineers who got involved in activities such as the McCarthy campaign and anti-ABM (antiballistic missiles) movement exposed their complex position about the dependency of their professions on defense spending. These attitudes challenge the assumption that residents of Cold War suburbs who worked in defense-related industries, regardless of partisan affiliation, were uniformly and reflexively supportive of national security issues. The decision of some of this contingency to voice their opposition to the war through electoral politics underscores their faith in the liberal ideal of working within the system to create change, which would have a reverberating impact on the direction of liberalism, the Democratic Party, and the antiwar cause.

Keywords:   Vietnam War, Cold War, antiwar movement, defense spending, liberalism, national security, electoral politics, Cold War suburbs

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