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The Fall of the Liberal Consensus Looking at the United States in 1965 it would seem that the future of the liberal consensus was well entrenched The anti-war movement was in full swing civil rights were moving forward and Johnsons Great Society was working to alleviate the plight of the poor in America Yet by 1968 the liberal consensus had fallen apart which led to the triumph of conservatism with the election of President Reagan in 1980 The question must be posed how in the course of 15 years did liberal consensus fall apart and conservatism rise to the forefront What were the decisive factors that caused the fracturing of what seemed to be such a powerful political force In looking at the period from 1968 to the triumph of Reagan in 1980 America was shaken to the core by the Watergate scandal the stalling of economic growth gas shortages and the Vietnam War In an era that included the amount of turbulence that the 1970s did it is not difficult to imagine that conservatism come to power In this paper I will analyze how the liberal consensus went from one of its high points in 1965 to one of its lows in 1968 From there I will show how conservatism rose to power by the 1980 elections In doing so I will look at how factors within the American economy civil rights issues and political workings of the United States contributed to the fracturing of the liberal consensus and the rise of conservatism In order to look at how the liberal consensus went from a high point in 1965 to a low in 1968 I think that it is first important to look at the state of the liberal consensus in 1965 Doing so will provide us with a starting point from which to measure the fracturing and also set up a framework from which we can analyze how and why the
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