AMS 370 • LBJ, Nixon, and the U.S. Body Politic-W
3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Few modern presidents have cast a shadow over their times, in terms of both policy and personality, as have Lyndon Baines Johnson and Richard Nixon. They held the office as the civil rights movement and the "silent majority," the Great Society and Watergate, the war in Vietnam and the diplomatic opening to China dominated public political discourse. This course examines the contentious decades of the 1960s and 1970s through a biographical, life-and-times lens to gain a long view of the American 20th century. In other words, this is not a course solely about LBJ and Nixon and their effects on the American body politic; it is a cultural and social chronicle of the times through which they moved and the ways in which their iconic careers embodied main currents in post-World War II American life. How did perceptions of the federal government and the relationship between individuals and the state change as a consequence of these presidencies? To what extent did LBJ and Nixon hinder, further, exploit, or co-opt the decades' grass-roots social movements of the left and right? How did Americas place in the world change in the wake of Vietnam, the end of the postwar economic boom, and détente with the Soviet Union? Such questions, and their answers, point to the continuing influence of the Johnson and Nixon presidencies on their successors, Bush and Obama no less than Ford and Carter.
Mid Term Exam 20% Final Exam 20% Reading Response Paper 15% Research Paper 35% Participation and Attendance 10%
Possible Texts: Billy Lee Brammer, The Gay Place Robert Dallek, Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President Joan Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered Andreas Killen, 1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol, and the Birth of Post- Sixties America Matthew Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South Norman Mailer, Miami and the Siege of Chicago Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All the President's Men Course Packet with selections from Stokely Carmichael, Robert Caro, Joan Didion, Ronnie Dugger, Alice Echols, David Frum, Allen Ginsberg, Dwonna Goldstone, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Philip Jenkins, Larry L. King, Kevin Kruse, Christopher Lasch, Carl Oglesby, Rick Perlstein, Julie Leininger Pycior, Kirkpatrick Sale, Jonathan Schell, Bruce Schulman, Bud Shrake, Hunter S. Thompson, and Tom Wolfe.