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Good Enough for Government WorkThe Public Reputation Crisis in America (And What We Can Do to Fix It)$
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Amy E. Lerman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226630175

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226630342.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

A Brief History of Public Reputation

A Brief History of Public Reputation

(p.26) Two A Brief History of Public Reputation
Good Enough for Government Work

Amy E. Lerman

University of Chicago Press

This chapter briefly reviews the history of elite rhetoric about government. Americans have always maintained an uneasy relationship with their government. The founders were intensely concerned with limiting centralized power, and it is not an overstatement to say that our national reverence for individualism and self-determination is culturally sacrosanct. Yet for most of the nation’s modern history, leaders of all political stripes professed their belief that government had an important role to play in helping citizens achieve their common goals of prosperity and security. By the second half of the twentieth century, though, an anti-government, libertarian movement began to gain steam, such that by the 1960s, anti-government rhetoric had reemerged on the national political stage; by the 1980s, it had taken center stage.

Keywords:   Political rhetoric, political elites, historical development, libertarianism, anti-government

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