Law and Order

Street Crime, Civil Unrest, and the Crisis of Liberalism in the 1960s

Michael W. Flamm

Columbia University Press

Law and Order

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Pub Date: February 2007

ISBN: 9780231115131

312 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.00£25.00

Pub Date: June 2005

ISBN: 9780231509725

312 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $31.99£25.00

Law and Order

Street Crime, Civil Unrest, and the Crisis of Liberalism in the 1960s

Michael W. Flamm

Columbia University Press

Law and Order offers a valuable new study of the political and social history of the 1960s. It presents a sophisticated account of how the issues of street crime and civil unrest enhanced the popularity of conservatives, eroded the credibility of liberals, and transformed the landscape of American politics. Ultimately, the legacy of law and order was a political world in which the grand ambitions of the Great Society gave way to grim expectations.

In the mid-1960s, amid a pervasive sense that American society was coming apart at the seams, a new issue known as law and order emerged at the forefront of national politics. First introduced by Barry Goldwater in his ill-fated run for president in 1964, it eventually punished Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats and propelled Richard Nixon and the Republicans to the White House in 1968. In this thought-provoking study, Michael Flamm examines how conservatives successfully blamed liberals for the rapid rise in street crime and then skillfully used law and order to link the understandable fears of white voters to growing unease about changing moral values, the civil rights movement, urban disorder, and antiwar protests.

Flamm documents how conservatives constructed a persuasive message that argued that the civil rights movement had contributed to racial unrest and the Great Society had rewarded rather than punished the perpetrators of violence. The president should, conservatives also contended, promote respect for law and order and contempt for those who violated it, regardless of cause. Liberals, Flamm argues, were by contrast unable to craft a compelling message for anxious voters. Instead, liberals either ignored the crime crisis, claimed that law and order was a racist ruse, or maintained that social programs would solve the "root causes" of civil disorder, which by 1968 seemed increasingly unlikely and contributed to a loss of faith in the ability of the government to do what it was above all sworn to do-protect personal security and private property.
Recommended. Choice
Meticulously documented... an important contribution to the literature on the 1960s era and its link to today's political discourse. Edward P. Morgan, Political Science Quarterly
Law and Order is essential reading for anyone interested in American society during the 1960s James Miller, Journal of American Studies
A cohesive study of the politics-law-and-order nexus. John C. McWilliams, The Historian
This book will be of interest to anyone who teaches and/or writes about the politics of the 1960s. Timothy N. Thurber, H-Net
This is must reading. Michal R. Belknap, California Western School of Law and University of California, San Diego, American Historical Review
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Delinquency and Opportunity
2. Law and Order Unleashed
3. The War on Crime
4. The Conservative Tide
5. The Politics of Civil Disorder
6. The Liberal Quagmire
7. The Politics of Safe Streets
8. Death, Disorder, and Debate
9. Law and Order Triumphant
Epilogue
Bibliography

About the Author

Michael W. Flamm is associate professor of history at Ohio Wesleyan University and the coauthor of The Chicago Handbook for Teachers and Debating the 1960s.
Michael Flamm is Associate Professor of History at Ohio Wesleyan Universtiy. He is co-author of The Chicago Handbook of Teaching (University of Chicago Press, 1999). He received his Ph.D. at Columbia University.