Political Conspiracies in America

Political Conspiracies in America : A Reader

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Conspiracy theories have been a part of the American experience since colonial times. There is a rich literature on conspiracies involving, among others, Masons, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, financiers, Communists, and internationalists. Although many conspiracy theories appear irrational, an exaggerated fear of a conspiracy sometimes proves to be well founded. This anthology provides students with documents relating to some of the more important and interesting conspiracy theories in American history and politics, some based on reality, many chiefly on paranoia. It provides a fascinating look at a persistent and at times troubling aspect of democratic society.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 15.24mm | 317.51g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 5 b&w photos
  • 0253219647
  • 9780253219640

Review quote

"An interesting and important reader.... [It] offers a powerful thematic approach that will prove popular with students and instructors alike." -Jonathan Bean, Southern Illinois University "[O]bjective editors interested in exploring the phenomena argue that insecurities during rapidly changing times encourage suspicions and irrational conspiracies.... Recommended." -Choice, May 2009 In this primary source collection of conspiracy theories through six stages of US history, objective editors interested in exploring the phenomena argue that insecurities during rapidly changing times encourage suspicions and irrational conspiracies. The first stage looks at the post-Revolutionary era Federalist belief in a Jeffersonian conspiracy tosupport French radicalism, the Burr western land plot, and Masonic support of Andrew Jackson's presidency. Stage two surveys anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, and anti-national bank sentiment. Stage three focuses on abolitionists and slave power conspiracies. The fourth stage reviews the Red Scare, robber baron capitalism, racism,anti-Semitism, and isolationism. Stage five concentrates on the Cold War era, space aliens, and the 1960s assassinations. Stage six looks at more contemporary issues related to globalization and the new world order, the AIDS conspiracy thesis, and terrorism. The editors touch on a few additional assorted conspiracies throughout. Thework compares favorably to Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics (CH, Mar'66), Robert Goldberg's Enemies Within, (Jun'02, 39-6001), and Mark Fenster's Conspiracy Theories (1999). Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries.S. Prisco III, Stevens Institute of Technology, Choice, May 2009show more

About Donald T. Critchlow

Donald T. Critchlow is Professor of History at St. Louis University and author of Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism and Studebaker: The Life and Death of an American Corporation (IUP, 1996).John Korasick is a judicial archivist for the Missouri State Historical Archives.Matthew C. Sherman is a doctoral candidate at St. Louis University.show more

Table of contents

ContentsIntroductionSection 1. Conspiracy in a New NationSection 2. Conspiracy in an Age of DemocracySection 3. Conspiracy in a Divided NationSection 4. Conspiracy in the Industrial Age through the New DealSection 5. Conspiracy in the Cold War EraSection 6. Conspiracy in Contemporary AmericaFor Further ReadingIndexshow more

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