Loss of Confidence

Politics and Policy in the 1970s

Edited by David Brian Robertson

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

05 August 1998

Length of book:

184 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271018454

As the oil shortages, inflation, and unemployment of the 1970s disrupted American lives and the Watergate scandal rocked the presidency, faith in the future of the nation and its leaders was severely damaged. This volume, which is the product of a unique collaboration of distinguished scholars from history and political science, offers a probing analysis of the causes, processes, and consequences of this erosion of faith in public solutions to our country's problems.

At the beginning of the decade, a confident American public and its leaders still embraced the government activism that was the legacy of the New Deal. But grave doubts about the efficacy of public policy—fueled by Watergate, Vietnam, stagflation, energy crises, and intensely controversial social policies—undermined this public trust as the decade wore on, until by the end tax revolts were breaking out across the country. Describing government as the problem, not the solution, Ronald Reagan broke with tradition to set a political and policy agenda that has been dominant ever since.

These experts from two disciplines bring their special insights to bear in dissecting the key developments of this decade that have transformed American politics in the last quarter of the century. The contributors are Ballard C. Campbell, Joseph Hinchliffe, J. David Hoeveler, Sidney M. Milkis, Alice O’Connor, Paul J. Quirk. David Brian Robertson, and John T. Woolley.

Like the other titles in Issues in Policy History, this book reprints a special issue of The Journal of Policy History.