American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements since the Sixties

Article excerpt

American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements Since the Sixties. By Simon Hall. (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Pp. xxv, 215. $5S.00.)

In this new study, the author explores the history of five social movements in the United States from the 1960s through the 1980s: gay rights, women's rights, antibusing, antitax, and antiabortion. Although the history of social movements is well-worn terrain, this author's unique contribution is to include both progressive and conservative movements and highlight their common use of "Americanism" in the usage of a common American identity tied to individualism, liberty, equality, justice, and self-government. Simon Hall has included a wealth of primary and secondary evidence in support of his thesis that these movements all deployed the tactics and rhetoric of the 1960s protest movements to shape national political debate successfully.

Hall begins with a discussion of the protests of the 1960s and their various uses of patriotism and Americanism to support their respective causes. Each of the following chapters focuses on one of the movements, providing a brief overview of its history from the 1960s through the 1980s, discussing how it drew on the tactics and rhetoric of the 1960s movements, particularly its use of patriotism and Americanism, and assessing its successes and failures. These movement overviews are particularly useful as an introduction to the movements of the 1970s, the rise of neoconservatism in this period, and in revealing the strong similarities between all of these disparate movements. …