The Nation: NEW STARTS FOR AMERICA'S THIRD CENTURY

American history shows a kind of ebb and flow in national purpose and social activism. The progressive era was followed by the quiescent, conservative Harding, Coolidge and Hoover regimes. Then came the great frenzy of the New Deal and the war, which were succeeded by the calm Eisenhower years. Kennedy, in his phrase, got "America moving again"—right into the hyperactive Johnson era. During the Nixon years there came another pause, domestically at least (until Watergate spoiled the calm). That pause has continued under Gerald Ford.

These periods of rest may be necessary, yet the...

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