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American exceptionalism - Essay Example

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This development wherein the role of the government in society and economy has increased demonstrated the attitude that favored economic security, economic equity and peace. In the 1960s, America experienced another contingency, the onset of poverty along with the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement. Lyndon Johnson embarked on his ambitious Great Society program, declaring war on poverty, by further increasing the role of public institutions through strong economic and social policies. After this period, America was tempted to revert back to its previous laissez-faire capitalist model of government. The economy was booming and the series of administrations were, in the words of Lockhart, “drifting in a direction reminiscent of the historical baseline suggested by the bulk of the nineteenth century involving a relatively small and inactive national government” (p29). This period was partly driven by the emergence of the liberalist attitude that invoked the sense of prohibition against arbitrary rule. This was however, interrupted. Several shocks recently occurred, prompting Americans to favor a stronger interventionist government. First, the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened, then, a series of economic crises ensued.

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Summary

How have Americans’ attitudes towards the appropriate role of the government in society and economy changed since the Great Depression? Before the 1930s the United States enjoyed a period of prosperity and stability, the Americans have favored the laissez-faire capitalism wherein the role of the government is severely restricted…
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