The Cities: The Crucible

Lyndon Johnson was interrupted by applause 53 times during his State of the Union address, but the cheers were mostly perfunctory and markedly partisan. Only once did he draw from his audience of Congressmen and Cabinet members, judges and generals a prolonged, spontaneous ovation. That was when he declared: "The American people have had enough of rising crime and lawlessness in this country."

Increasingly, "crime in the streets"—an omnibus label encompassing all the wellsprings of urban unrest from ghetto riots to muggings in middle-class neighborhoods—looms, with the possible exception of Viet Nam, as the nation's prime preoccupation in Election Year...