The Republican Party and the Long, Hot Summer of 1967 in the United States

McLay, Mark (2018) The Republican Party and the Long, Hot Summer of 1967 in the United States. The Historical Journal, 61 (4). pp. 1089-1111. ISSN 0018-246X

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During the summer of 1967, the United States experienced a series of race riots across the nation's cities as largely black neighbourhoods rebelled against the conditions in which they were living. The crisis reached its apogee in July when the worst riots since the American Civil War struck Detroit. In this atmosphere, legislators were faced with a stark choice of punishing rioters with stricter crime measures or alleviating living conditions with substantial federal spending. Despite being a minority in Congress, elected Republicans found themselves holding the balance of power in choosing whether the federal government would enforce law and order or pursue social justice for ghetto residents. While those Republicans who pursued ‘order’ have been given prominence in historiographical narratives, such politicians only represent one side of the Republican response. Indeed, moderate and progressive Republicans rallied to save Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty and a host of urban spending initiatives that had appeared politically doomed. These actions reveal that scholars have overestimated Republican conservatism during the 1960s. Nonetheless, the rioting left a long-term legacy that enabled ‘order’ eventually to triumph over ‘justice’ in the following five decades.

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The Historical Journal
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16 Mar 2022 15:55
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 02:46