The Coming Political Breakthrough

The Coming Political Breakthrough

The Coming Political Breakthrough

The Coming Political Breakthrough


Emerson once suggested that the most meaningful differences in American life have occurred when the advocates of a Party of Hope clashed with those of a Party of Memory.

It must be added that for extended periods both of our formal political organizations have appeared all too content with their own memories and the slogans and attitudes associated with them.

Yet at a critical juncture, one or the other has managed to break through the clichés and the commonplace, and for brief, creative interludes, has emerged as the Party of Hope to recall America to greatness.

The result has been a kind of rhythm in American political history which has been noted by several observers. In the spring of 1956 I added my own views in a little book entitled, American Politics in a Revolutionary World, based on the Godkin Lectures which I had recently given at Harvard.

In this book I sought to identify and describe our periods of national apathy and ineffectiveness and the surges of political creativeness that followed them.

I suggested that after the tension-packed 1930's and 1940's a period of breath-catching had been inevitable, but that this period was gradually running its course, and that the stage might soon be set for a fresh and more affirmative approach to domestic and international problems.

Yet political readjustments usually take place slowly. Practical experience has taught political leaders that familiar election-year appeals are the safest.

Therefore I doubted that the new national consensus on domestic and foreign policy matters which I believe has been taking shape . . .

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