chapter  2
Life Cycles of Protest
ByCharles C. Euchner
Pages 35

Samuel P. Huntington has presented a sophisticated cyclical theory of the politics of protest in the United States. The fundamental motor of American politics, Huntington argued, is the nation's civic ideals. "In comparison to European nationalism, American nationalism is more 'intellectualized', since it is defined more in terms of political ideas and principles". "The conflicts of creedal politics are not simply over how to promote particular interests that divide people, but also over how and to what extent to realize general ideals that unite people", Huntington argued. The big cycles that seem to sweep society along according to a world-historic logic, in fact, really represent the accumulations of actions and tendencies within smaller organizations and communities. Understanding the cycles of specific groups and organizations is essential for understanding the larger cycles of politics. The cyclical movement of politics depends on the innumerable political players, each acting in a distinctive environment and subject to many influences.