The Thee Decade: The 1970s Was More Than Bad Hair

The decade of the Seventies has a rather dismal reputation. In his creatively titled book The Seventies, Bruce Schulman chronicles the horrors: bad hair, vapid dance music, a rootless youth culture, Ford’s mysteriously exploding compact car called the Pinto, hostages in Iran, defeat in Vietnam, double-digit inflation and stagnant economic growth (called stagflation). The American [Read More...]

Five Reasons Carter Wasn’t So Bad

Carter has been maligned for being a weak, ineffective, micromanaging president. Randall Balmer begs to differ. To be sure, Carter had his weaknesses (and in his biography Redeemer, Balmer acknowledges them, including a sordid account of race-baiting during his gubernatorial campaign of 1970). But he points out that Carter’s presidency was sabotaged by events quite [Read More...]

Doing Bad to Do Good: Carter’s Race-Baiting Election of 1970

In 1970 Jimmy Carter ran a sordid campaign for governor of Georgia. Courting the support of segregationist George Wallace, Carter used Wallace’s slogan “our kind of man,” which was a barely veiled appeal to the laboring classes who opposed integration. Carter’s campaign workers, who called themselves the “stink tank,” found a photograph showing Carter’s liberal [Read More...]

Beyond Playboy: The Inner Life of Jimmy Carter

In 1976 Playboy magazine conducted its infamous interview of Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter. The interview nearly cost Carter the election. Secular pundits mocked his confession of “adultery in my heart.” Conservative Christians not only disagreed with his use of the word screw but objected that Carter would grant the salacious magazine an interview in [Read More...]

Lone Star Religion

Rough Country - Wuthnow

Review of Robert Wuthnow, Rough Country: How Texas Became America’s Most Powerful Bible-Belt State (Princeton University Press, 2014). I grew up in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s. During my childhood, Texas was a purple state. Both major parties represented us in the Senate, and the governorship oscillated between Democrats and Republicans. Things have changed quite [Read More...]

ENDING THE DRAFT

For obvious reasons, historians concern themselves with writing about things that happened, rather than others that did not exist, or that ceased to happen. In one instance though, we can learn a lot about modern America from tracing the long-term cultural impact of something that finished over forty years ago, namely the military draft. Odd [Read More...]

Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Part 2

Redeemer - The Life of Jimmy Carter

Beginning in the 1970s, evangelical voters significantly influenced electoral outcomes.  Throughout the 1980s, they emerged as an increasingly- reliable Republican voting block.  By the time the 1990s dawned, significant evangelical involvement in the political process meant that effectively, the Republican nomination could not be secured without their support.  And, in the closely-contested general election of 2004, [Read More...]

Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Part 1

Redeemer - The Life of Jimmy Carter

When Marge Simpson forgets to pay for a bottle of rum at the Qwik-E-Mart, she ends up serving thirty days in jail for shoplifting.  Without Marge’s famous marshmallow squares to sell, Springfield’s Beautify Our Parks Bake Sale falls short of its goal, forcing the town to purchase a statue of Jimmy Carter instead of Abraham [Read More...]

The Long History of the Religious Right

Ever since so many of them embraced the Reagan Revolution during the 1980 election cycle, the political involvement of evangelicals has garnered the attention of scholars and journalists.  For many, the story of resurgent evangelical political involvement became one of backlash.  Reacting against progressive politics and loosening social mores of the 1960s, evangelicals embraced a [Read More...]

Should a Candidate’s Faith Matter to Paleo Evangelicals?

In last week’s column, “Paleo Evangelicals as Reluctant Republicans,” I argued that there are many conservative evangelicals who do not feel quite at home with today’s Republican Party. Some have undoubtedly balked at wholesale commitment to the Republican Party’s general election nominees in ’08 and ’12 because they were not evangelicals. John McCain had some [Read More...]


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