chapter  11
22 Pages

Pessimistic Rumination in American Politics and Society

Societies, like individuals, experience hypomanic and depressive periods. Think of America of the 1 920s-the bubbly "New Era" of unlimited economic expan­ sioll--{'.ompared to the 1 930s Great Depression. Our leaders, too, go through hypomanic and depressive phases-there was Jimmy Carter, briskly striding down Pennsylvania Avenue after pledging "fresh faith" in his 1 977 inaugural , but lamenting America's "crisis in confidence" in his 1 979 speech.