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Frontlash: Race and the Development of Punitive Crime Policy

  • Vesla M. Weaver (a1)


Civil rights cemented its place on the national agenda with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, fair housing legislation, federal enforcement of school integration, and the outlawing of discriminatory voting mechanisms in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Less recognized but no less important, the Second Reconstruction also witnessed one of the most punitive interventions in United States history. The death penalty was reinstated, felon disenfranchisement statutes from the First Reconstruction were revived, and the chain gang returned. State and federal governments revised their criminal codes, effectively abolishing parole, imposing mandatory minimum sentences, and allowing juveniles to be incarcerated in adult prisons. Meanwhile, the Law Enforcement Assistance Act of 1965 gave the federal government an altogether new role in crime control; several subsequent policies, beginning with the Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and culminating with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, ‘war on drugs,’ and extension of capital crimes, significantly altered the approach. These and other developments had an exceptional and long-lasting effect, with imprisonment increasing six-fold between 1973 and the turn of the century. Certain groups felt the burden of these changes most acutely. As of the last census, fully half of those imprisoned are black and one in three black men between ages 20 and 29 are currently under state supervision. Compared to its advanced industrial counterparts in western Europe, the United States imprisons at least five times more of its citizens per capita.

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1. See Figure 1 in this article, depicting the growth of the prison population and incarceration rate over time.

2. Franklin, E. Zimring and David, T. Johnson, “Public Opinion and the Governance of Punishment in Democratic Political Systems,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 605 (2006): 267.

3. Marie, Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

4. David, Garland, The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).

5. Jonathan, Simon, Governing Through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 13.

6. Ibid., 8.

7. Michael, Tonry, Malign Neglect—Race, Crime, and Punishment in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); Stuart, Hall et al. , Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order (London: Macmillan, 1978); Garland, Culture of Control; Stuart, A. Scheingold, The Politics of Law and Order: Street Crime and Public Policy (New York: Longman, 1984).

8. Scheingold, Politics of Law and Order, 5.

9. Kenneth, J. Meier, The Politics of Sin: Drugs, Alcohol, and Public Policy (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1994); James, A. Morone, Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 455–77.

10. Katherine, Beckett, Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Bruce, Western, Bruce, , Punishment and Inequality in American Democracy (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006); Loic, Wacquant, “The New ‘Peculiar Institution’: On the Prison as Surrogate Ghetto,” Theoretical Criminology 4 (2000): 377–89; Naomi, Murakawa, “Electing to Punish: Congress, Race, and the American Criminal Justice State” (PhD diss., Yale University, 2005).

11. Western, Punishment and Inequality, 5.

12. Beckett, Making Crime Pay, 28–29.

13. Simon, Governing Through Crime, 28.

14. Michael, W. Flamm, Law and Order: Street Crime, Civil Unrest, and the Crisis of Liberalism in the 1960s (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005); Thomas, E. Cronin, Tania, Z. Cronin, and Michael, F. Milakovich, U.S. v. Crime in the Streets (Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press, 1981); Richard, M. Scammon and Ben, J. Wattenberg, The Real Majority (New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1970); Malcolm, M. Feeley and Austin, D. Sarat, The Policy Dilemma: Federal Crime Policy and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, 1968–1978 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980).

15. Flamm, Law and Order, 22. Also see Steven, E. Barkan, Protesters on Trial: Criminal Justice in the Southern Civil Rights and Vietnam Antiwar Movements (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1985); James, W. Button, Black Violence: Political Impact of the 1960s Riots (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978); Cronin, Cronin, and Milakovich, U.S. v. Crime in the Streets.

16. Tali, Mendelberg, The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages, and the Norm of Equality (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001).

17. Melissa, Hickman Barlow, “Race and the Problem of Crime in Time and Newsweek Cover Stories, 1946–1995,” Social Justice 25 (1998): 178; emphasis in original.

18. Martin, Gilens, Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Robert, C. Lieberman, Shifting the Color Line: Race and the American Welfare State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); Jill, S. Quadagno, The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Ira, Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005); Ange-Marie, Hancock, The Politics of Disgust: the Public Identity of the Welfare Queen (New York: New York University Press, 2004).

19. Sean Nicholson-Crotty, and Kenneth, J. Meier, “Crime and Punishment: The Politics of Federal Criminal Justice Sanctions,” Political Research Quarterly 56 (2003): 119–26.

20. Greg, A. Caldeira and Andrew, T. Cowart, “Budgets, Institutions, and Change: Criminal Justice Policy in America,” American Journal of Political Science 24 (1980): 413–38; Willard, M. Oliver, “The Power to Persuade: Presidential Influence Over Congress on Crime Control Policy,” Criminal Justice Review 28 (2003): 113–32; Willard, M. Oliver and David, E. Barlow, “Following the Leader? Presidential Influence Over Congress in the Passage of Federal Crime Control Policy,” Criminal Justice Policy Review 16 (2005): 267–86.

21. Feeley, Malcolm M., “Crime, social order and the rise of neo-Conservative politics,” Theoretical Criminology 7 (2003): 111–30.

22. Blumer, Herbert, “Social Problems as Collective Behavior,” Social Problems 18 (1971): 298306.

23. Western, Punishment and Inequality.

24. Weaver, R. Kent, Ending Welfare as We Know It (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2000), 37.

25. Carmines, Edward G. and Stimson, James A., Issue Evolution: Race and the Transformation of American Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), 6. See also Baumgartner, Frank R. and Jones, Bryan D., Agendas and Instability in American Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 6: “So long as the possibility exists of mobilizing the previously indifferent through the redefinition of issues, no system based on the shared preferences of the interested is safe.” And Riker, William H., Agenda Formation (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993): “The political forces are the interests of politicians: previous winners, of course, seek to maintain the status quo of issues on which they have won, while previous losers seek to bring up new issues on which they can win.”

26. Schaattschneider, E. E., The Semisovereign People: a Realist's View of Democracy in America (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960). Zald, Mayer N. and Useem, Bert, “Movement and Countermovement Interaction: Moblization, Tactics, and State Involvement,” in Social Movements in an Organizational Society, Collected Essays, ed. Zald, Mayer N. and McCarthy, John D. (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1987), 247–72.

27. Baumgartner and Jones, Agendas and Instability in American Politics, 8.

28. Weaver, Ending Welfare as We Know It.

29. Gilmour, John B., Strategic Disagreement: Stalemate in American Politics (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995), 55.

30. Baumgartner and Jones, Agendas and Instability in American Politics, 34.

31. Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White.

32. Rogin, Michael, “Wallace and the Middle Class: The White Backlash in Wisconsin,” Public Opinion Quarterly 30 (1966): 98108.

33. For an excellent review and critique of the backlash account, see Lowndes, Joseph, The Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, Forthcoming 2008). He describes in more detail than I can here the history of the backlash narrative, how it soon became an ideological explanation for the conservative counterrevolution and is now the “ideological cornerstone” of the conservative strategy.

34. Edsall, Thomas Byrne and Edsall, Mary, Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics (New York, Norton, 1992); Kazin, Michael, The Populist Persuasion: An American History (Basic Books, 1995); Gitlin, Todd, The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America is Wracked by the Culture Wars (New York, Henry Holt & Company, Inc 1995).

35. Joseph Lowndes's book on the conservative mobilization argues convincingly against the notion of backlash: “the Right that developed was contingent, mobile and highly adaptive, constantly responding to changing conditions on the ground with new strategies and tactics” (Lowndes, , The Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism [New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, forthcoming 2008, chap. 7]).

36. Klarman, Michael J., “How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis,” Journal of American History (1994): 81.

37. Schrecker, Ellen, The Age of McCarthyism, a Brief History with Documents (Boston, MA: St. Martin's Press, 1994).

38. For a history of anti-crime legislation prior to 1960 see Calder, James D., The Origins and Development of Federal Crime Control Policy: Herbert Hoover's Initiatives (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993). This discussion should not be taken to suggest the federal government had never been involved in crime control. Indeed, many national leaders and presidents employed the crime issue before Goldwater and Nixon, including Teddy Roosevelt, Joseph McCarthy, and Estes Kefauver. However, none of these campaigns resulted in a sustained national program on crime.

39. Hoover, J. Edgar, “An American's Challenge: Communism and Crime” [address 9 Oct. 1962], Vital Speeches of the Day 29 (1962): 99; Hoover, J. Edgar, “Our Common Task: When Crime Occurs, There has been a Failure Somewhere” [address 3 Oct. 1955], Vital Speeches of the Day 22 (1955): 43.

40. There are technical reasons to be dubious about the accuracy of crime rates. Until the 1970s, the sole source of crime was the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports. The Bureau today strongly discourages academics and others from using its statistics prior to 1960 because police departments varied widely in their professionalism and participation in the UCR was sporadic.

41. The lone exception to this was a bill that attempted to challenge the Supreme Court's ruling on confessions, the Mallory rule. The bill passed in the House but was not acted on by the Senate.

42. Calder, Origins and Development of Federal Crime Control Policy; Morone, Hellfire Nation.

43. Prison and the Gallows, 43–44.

44. Hoover, “An American's Challenge,” 99.

45. These include most notably President Kennedy's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency, which spurred preventative programs like Mobilization for Youth and Harlem Youth Opportunities, Unlimited.

46. The folders on crime in the LBJ records reveal an erratic mix of issues, most of which occupied the spotlight only for a short period and were unconnected to a broader vision. Most often, the correspondence regarding crime is about blacks needing redress from violent resistance.

47. Memorandum for Dr. Eric Goldman from Jack Valenti, 3 Jun. 1964, LBJ Library, JL Judicial-Legal Matters 11/22/63–5/5/65.

48. Sen. John C. Stennis (D–MS) in Proscription of Travel in Interstate and Foreign Commerce for Purposes of Inciting to Riot, 87th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record 107, pt. 2, 24 May 1961, 8738.

49. These statutes related to barratry, camperty, and maintenance, which meant arbitrary meddling in or stirring up legal suits. See Murphy, Walter F., “The South Counterattacks: The Anti-NAACP Laws,” in The Era of Integration and Civil Rights, 1930–1990, ed. Finkelman, Paul (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992).

50. Flamm, Law and Order; Murakawa, “Electing to Punish.”

51. Sen. Richard B. Russell qtd. in Leasing of a Portion of Fort Crowder, MO—Civil Rights, 86th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record 106, pt. 5, 16 Mar. 1960, 5721.

52. Rep. John Bell Williams in Northern Congressmen Want Civil Rights but their Constituents Do Not Want Negroes, 86th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record 106, pt. 4, 9 Mar. 1960, 5062–63.

53. Linking blacks to crime was not unique to the civil rights era. It was a prominent theme in the First Reconstruction. Theodore Roosevelt was infamous for his exhortations that black criminals were “the worst enemy of his race”: “Laziness and shiftlessness, these, and above all, vice and criminality of every kind, are evils more potent for harm to the black race than all acts of oppression of white men put together.” See Roosevelt, Theodore, Theodore Roosevelt on Race, Riots, Reds, Crime, comp. Roosevelt, Archibald B.. (West Sayville, NY: Probe Publishers, 1968).

See also: Oshinsky, David M., Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (New York: Free Press, 1996); Adamson, Christopher R., “Punishment after Slavery: Southern State Penal Systems, 1865–1890,” Social Problems 30 (1983): 555–69.

54. Two Myths Behind Civil Rights Bill Opposition, 88th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record 110, pt. 8, 5 May 1964, 10057.

55. Sen. John L. McClellan in “Crisis in Race Relations—How Will It Be Met? Interviews with Congressmen around the Nation,” US News & World Report, 10 Aug. 1964, 23–40, 28.

56. In his early speeches on the topic, he focused on salaries for police, on corruption, juvenile crime, and most heavily on the connection of crime to communism. His admonitions included an incoherent description of the causes, which ranged from “self-indulgence” and the “moral breakdown of young people” to communism (the “sinister partner” of crime), to court decisions that help law violators.

57. Goldwater, Barry, “Peace Through Strength” [address 3 Sept. 1964],Vital Speeches of the Day 30 (1964): 744.

58. The ad is described in White, Theodore H., The Making of the President 1964 (New York: Athenum Publishers, 1965), 333 fn.9: “Naked-breasted women, beatniks at their revels, Negroes rioting and looting in the streets succeeded each other in a phantasmagoric film which, when shown to Goldwater, he flatly refused to authorize.”

59. Transcripts and video files of campaign commercials were obtained from the American Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate, Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952–2004,; last accessed 4 Aug. 2007.

60. Congressional Quarterly Almanac (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly News Features, 1960), 701–2.

61. Goldwater, “Peace Through Strength,” 746.

62. McClellan, John L., Crime Without Punishment (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1962), 286.

63. Caplan, Gerald, “Reflections on the Nationalization of Crime, 1964–1968,” Law and the Social Order 3 (1973): 583635.

64. For a more complete discussion, see Murakawa, “Electing to Punish.”

65. “Law and Order Conference,” LBJ Library, JL 6 Law Enforcement—Police Matters 11/22/63–10/22/65.

66. Crime and Delinquency Memo, LBJ Library, JL 3 Criminal Matters 11/22/63–6/30/65.

67. Draft of Statement for Law Enforcement Assistance bill, 21 Sept. 1965, LBJ Library, LE/JL 6.

68. Congress and the Nation, Vol. 2: 1965–1968, (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Service), 310.

69. The Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Offenses Control Act in 1961 was the first. See Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, “The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA): The Title I Program of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, As Amended.” Obtained from Lexis Nexis Congressional.

70. United States, President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society: A Report (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1967).

71. “Race Friction—Now a Crime Problem?,” U.S. News and World Report, 30 Aug. 1965, 21–24, 21.

72. Cited in Peterson, Virgil W., “The Problems of Law and Order,” Current History (1968): 352–56.

73. Wilson, Jerry V., Police Report, a view of law enforcement (Boston: Little, Brown, 1975).

74. Ibid., 14.

75. Schumach, Murray, “Crime Statistics: A Numbers Game,” in Crime and Justice, ed. Clark, Ramsey (New York: Arno Press, 1974), 228–29. Originally printed in The New York Times, 4 Feb. 1968.

See also President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, “Crime in America,” in Crime in America: Perspectives on Criminal and Delinquent Behavior, ed. Cohen, Bruce J. (Itasca, IL: F.E. Peacock Publishers, 1977), 28:

This margin of unreported crime raises the possibility that even small changes in the way that crime is reported by the public to the police, or classified and recorded by the police, could have significant effects on the trend of reported crime.

76. Wilson, Police Report, 43.

77. Indeed, larcenies can be designated as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the state.

78. Bell, Daniel, The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties: With a New Afterword (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988), esp. chap. 8.

79. Goldwater had used this rationale early on:

But no one can in deep conscience advocate lawlessness in seeking redress of a grievance! When men will seek political advantage by turning their eyes away from riots and violence, we can well understand why lawlessness grows even while we pass more laws. (Goldwater, “Peace Through Strength”, 746)

80. Because the Uniform Crime Report statistics do not separate out those behaviors related to mass demonstrations and riots, it is difficult to know exactly what proportion of the crime rate was attributable to the racial disorders. The government's investigation of riots and major civil disorders counted 59,257 related arrests during the three year period of 1965–1968 (U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations, Staff Study of Major Riots and Civil Disorders—1965 Through July 31, 1968. 90th Cong., 2nd sess., Oct. 1968). The President's Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence credited group political activity as a major cause in the increase in crime. According to the Commission, there were 71,000 arrests related to demonstrations, protests, and riots between 1963 and 1968; to compare, homicides generated 39,000 arrests during the same time span (U.S. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, To Establish Justice, To Insure Domestic Tranquility: Final Report [Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1969]).

81. Solomon, Frederic, “Civil Rights Activity and Reduction in Crime among Negroes,” in Problems and Prospects of the Negro Movement, ed. Murphy, Raymond J. and Elinson, Howard (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1966).

82. Sen. Richard B. Russell in “Crisis in Race Relations—How Will It Be Met? Interviews with Congressmen around the Nation,” 27.

83. Sen. Herman E. Talmadge, in ibid., 29.

84. Marvin Watson to President Johnson. 2 Aug. 1967 (6:20 PM), LBJ Library, HU2, 7/30/67–8/8/67.

85. J. Edgar Hoover, (1965), 72.

86. In discussing the “current rash and rapid spread, of planned, mass violation of our laws,” Whittaker blamed “Negro leaders” for telling the “Negro masses” that,

[T]hey should go forth and ‘force’ the whites to grant them their ‘rights’, and, in doing so they should violate the laws that stand in their way because they are ‘bad’ laws—which is plainly to tell them to take the laws into their own hands and to judge for themselves, as they proceed, which of them they will obey and which of them they will violate. In that angry mood, and with that advice, they do go forth … as if looking for trouble—and frequently so block the walks, streets, parks, and highways as to preclude their intended public uses … and, when those violations of our laws are resisted, even by the police, open riots usually break out and result in commission by them of crimes of moral turpitude. (Charles E. Whittaker, “Planned, Mass Violations of our Laws: The Causes, and the Effects Upon Public Order” [address 14 Feb. 1967], Vital Speeches of the Day 33 [1967]: 324).

87. “Race Friction—Now a Crime Problem?,” 23.

88. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Statement of J. Edgar Hoover Before National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, September 18, 1968,” 6.

89. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Prevention and Control of Mobs and Riots (Washington, DC: n.p., 1967).

90. “Poverty: Phony Excuse for Riots? ‘Yes,’ Says a Key Senator,” U.S. News and World Report, 31 Jul. 1967, 14.

91. “Race Friction—Now a Crime Problem?,” 22.

92. Feagin, Joe R. and Hahn, Harlan, Ghetto Revolts: The Politics of Violence in American Cities (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1973).

93. Repr. in Congressional Record, 3 Aug. 1967, H9932.

94. “Poverty: Phony Excuse for Riots?,” 14.

95. “81% In a Poll See Law Breakdown,” in Crime and Justice, 255.

96. Telegram to the President from L Mendel Rivers, Member of Congress, 25 Jul. 1967, LBJ Library, HU 2 7/1/67–7/28/67; emphasis added.

97. Telegram to the President from Lester Maddox, Governor of Georgia. 12 Apr. 1968, LBJ Library, JL 3.

98. Right to Protection From Crime Should be Paramount, 89th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record 111, pt. 16 24 Aug. 1965, 21646.

99. Richard M. Nixon, “Toward Freedom from Fear,” speech read into 90th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record 114, pt. 10, 13 May 1968, 12938.

100. Qtd. in Sundquist, James L., Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1983), 385.

101. Murakawa, “Electing to Punish.”

102. See section on “Riots and Federal Workers” in CQ Almanac 1968, 641.

103. U.S. House Committee on the District of Columbia, Anti-Riots Hearing before Subcommittee No. 4, 90th Cong., 1st sess., 1967.

104. The resulting bill was much more expansive than the one proposed by Johnson and the Kerner Commission. The anti-riot bill ultimately passed because the fair housing bill rested on a fragile coalition of votes.

105. CQ Almanac 1968, 641. The provision was later deleted when the sponsor argued that it was a “product of hysteria.”

106. Feagin and Hahn, Ghetto Revolts.

107. Harris, Richard, Justice: The Crisis of Law, Order, and Freedom in America (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1970). In one of the more extreme examples, the Virginia legislature debated a bill that would have “permitted authorities to form a posse to deal with rioters when authorities merely expected a riot” (Virginia House Bill No. 365, 18.1-254.10 [1968]). See also Bassiouni, M. CherifThe Law of Dissent and Riots (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1971).

108. Jean M. White, “‘Crime in Streets’ Is Called Slogan To Curb Negroes,” Washington Post, 23 Jan. 1968.

109. Katzenbach, Nicholas deB., “The Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Vital Speeches of the Day 31 (1964): 27.

110. Humphrey, Hubert H., Beyond Civil Rights: A New Day of Equality (New York: Random House, 1968), 133.

111. “Texts of Statements by Negro Leaders,” New York Times, 30 Jul. 1964, 12.

112. Repr. in Crisis and Commitment, 89th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record 112, pt. 20, 17 Oct. 1966, 27189–90.

113. Qtd. in “Race Friction—Now a Crime Problem?,” 24.

114. Katzenbach, “Civil Rights Act of 1964,” 27.

115. Lyndon B. Johnson quoted in “Shift in the wind in Washington [violent defiance of law and order gone too far],” U.S. News & World Report, 6 Sept. 1965, 28.

116. Transcript, Lawrence F. O'Brien Oral History Interview 26, 26 Aug. 1987, by Michael L. Gillette, Internet copy, LBJ Library.

117. Nixon, “Toward Freedom from Fear,” 12936.

118. Task Force on Crime and Delinquency [prepared under the direction of the Republican National Committee], Crime and Delinquency—A Republican Response (Washington, DC: 1968), 4–24.

119. “People of the Week—And a Warning from J. Edgar Hoover,” U.S. News & World Report, 13 Sept. 1965, 20.

120. Qtd. in Cronin, Cronin, and Milakovich, U.S. v. Crime in the Streets, 177.

121. The Gallup Poll no. 797, Jan. 1970.

122. “Era of Growing Strife in U.S.,”U.S. News & World Report, 25 Sept. 1967, 42.

123. Louis Harris and Associates, The Public Looks at Crime and Corrections: Report of a Survey Conducted for the Joint Commission on Correctional Manpower and Training in November, 1967 (Washington, DC: Joint Commission on Correctional Manpower and Training, 1968).

124. Harris Study no. 1970.

125. United States, National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1968).

126. Lindsay, John V., “Violence in the Cities,” Vital Speeches of the Day 33 (1967): 676.

127. U.S. Senate, Authorizing the Committee on Government Operations to Investigate Crime and Lawlessness within the United States: Report together with Individual Views to Accompany S. Res. 150, 90th Cong., 1st sess., 1967, rept. 470, 2.

128. Ibid., 3–4.

129. Transcript, Ramsey Clark Oral History Interview V, 3 June 1969, by Harri Baker, Internet copy, LBJ Library.

130. There was considerable contestation between the federal agencies as to the approach of the administration:

HEW feels that juvenile delinquency, social services, rehabilitation, etc. should be heavily emphasized. We feel the President must place a much greater emphasis on crime and law enforcement if he is to strike the right note with Congress and the public. This is not necessarily a programmatic difference, but rather primarily a difference in how the President talks about the problem.

(Memorandum for the Honorable Bill D. Moyers, Special Assistant to the President, from Norbert A. Schlei, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, LBJ Library. SP 2–3/1965, JL, Law Enforcement & Administration of Justice 3/8/65)

131. Memorandum to Larry Levinson from Fred Panzer. Subject: Crime Message Booklet, 28 Feb. 1968, LBJ Library, Office Files of Fred Panzer: Crime—1968.

132. Christopher and Clark noted that “Enactment of a Federal act runs the risk of appearing to do more than we can really accomplish.” (Memorandum for the President from Joe Califano, 29 Jan. 1968 [10:00 p.m.], LBJ Library, LE/JL).

133. U.S. House, The Challenge of Crime to Our Society: Message from the President of the United States, 90th Cong., 2nd sess., 1968, Doc. 250, 11.

134. Lyndon B. Johnson, “Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union,” 17 Jan. 1968.

135. Lyndon B. Johnson, “Special Message to the Congress on Crime and Law Enforcement,” 7 Feb. 1968.

136. Fletcher Knebel, “Washington, DC: Portrait of a Sick City,” Look, 4 Jun. 1963, 15.

137. Transcript, Ramsey Clark Oral History Interview V, 3 Jun. 1969, by Harri Baker, Internet copy, LBJ Library.

138. Memorandum from Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Special Assistant to the President, from James Vorenberg, Executive Director, President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, 2 Dec. 1966, LBJ Library, 1966–1967 Task Force on Crime—I.

139. Harris, Richard, The Fear of Crime (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, 1968), 55.

140. CQ Almanac 1968.

141. CQ Almanac 1967.

142. U.S. Senate, Controlling Crime Through More Effective Law Enforcement, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Criminal Laws and Procedures of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 90th Cong., 1st sess., 1967.

143. James Vorenberg, “The War on Crime: The First Five Years,” The Atlantic Monthly, May 1972.

144. Indeed the National Conference of Governors lobbied Congress for the block grants.

145. Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White.

146. Title 1 of the Act “prohibited agencies administered or in any part funded or contracted by the Office of Economic Opportunity from receiving funds under the Act.” CQ Almanac 1967, 858. The original amendment was sponsored by Joe D. Waggonner Jr., Democrat from Louisiana.

147. Congressman Rivers quoted in Lynch, Beth and Goldberg, Nancy E., The Dollars and Sense of Justice: A Study of the Law Enforcement Assistance as it Relates to the Defense Function of the Criminal Justice System (National Legal and Defender Association, 1973), 7.

148. Qtd. in Harris, Fear of Crime, 86–87.

149. This provision was originally included to address the violent resistance to southern integration.

150. CQ Almanac 1967, 783.

151. Ibid.

152. U.S. House, Penalties for Inciting Riots: Report to Accompany H.R. 421, 90th Cong., 1st sess., 1967, Rept. 472, 7.

153. McAdam, Doug and Moore, Kelly, “The Politics of Black Insurgency, 1930–1975,” in Violence in America: Volume 2 Protest, Rebellion, Reform, ed. Gurr, Ted Robert (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1989).

154. For an in-depth recounting of the maneuvering behind Safe Streets, see Harris, Fear of Crime.

155. John G. Dow (D–NY) quoted in Harris, Fear of Crime, 109.

156. Sundquist, Dynamics of the Party System.

157. Letter to the President from George W. Grider, 13 Jun. 1968. LBJ Library, LE/JL 3 6/13/68–6/19/68.

158. Letter to Charles J. Zwick, Director, Bureau of the Budget from Warren Christopher, Deputy Attorney General, LBJ Library, Legislation LE/HI–LE/LE 3 [1 of 2].

159. “President Signs Broad Crime Bill, With Objections,” in Crime and Justice, 378. Originally printed in The New York Times, 20 Jun. 1968.

160. These sentiments were common in Congress. One anonymous legislator quoted in Business Weekly said: “‘All anticrime bills have been painted ‘antiriot’ whether they are or not. When that's the case, you don't dare vote against them this year'” (“GOP Steals a March With Crime,” Business Weekly, 19 Aug. 1967, 132).

161. Qtd. in Mahoney, Barry, “The Politics of the Safe Streets Act, 1965–1973: A Case Study in evolving Federalism and the National Legislative Process” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1976).

162. Congress and the Nation, 2:322.

163. Specifically, it allowed any prosecutor with the permission of a judge to tap or bug a suspect of a present or future crime punishable by at least one year in prison. Johnson was so against the wiretapping title of Safe Streets that he sent instructions to every department and agency prohibiting them from using it. His administration was confident that it would ultimately be ruled unconstitutional by the Court.

164. Lynch and Goldberg, “Dollars and Sense of Justice,” 6.

165. Feagin and Hahn, Ghetto Revolts.

166. CQ Almanac 1968.

167. The letter from the Congressman said: “Of some concern to me, however, was the absence of a proposal to upgrade city and state crime reporting. It would seem that with the amount of aid granted to law enforcement agencies under the Safe Streets and Crime Control Act of 1967, the Federal government could, at the very least, require certain standards to be met in crime reporting” (Letter from Congressman Larry Winn, Jr. to the President. 7 Feb. 1967, LBJ Library. SP 2–3/1967/JL/Pro/A–Z).

168. Letter from Fred M. Vinson, Jr, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Dept. of Justice to Honorable Larry Winn, Jr., 21 Feb. 1967, LBJ Library. SP 2–3/1967/JL/Pro/A–Z.

169. In 1965, the Crime Commission ran a survey to get an accurate measure of crime. The results showed that crime was much higher than the UCR reports, or 2,120 crimes per 100,000 compared to 1,434 per 100,000 (Ennis, Philip H., Criminal Victimization in the United States: A Report of a National Survey (Chicago: National Opinion Research Center/University of Chicago, 1967).

170. “Memorandum for Barefoot Sanders from Sherwin Markman,” 14 Aug. 1967, LBJ Library. LE/HU2 4/12/67–3/11/68.

171. Qtd. in Horton, Carol A., Race and the Making of American Liberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 183.

172. CQ Almanac 1967, 784.

173. Chappell, William V., “Crime: Some Call it Dissent” [address 30 Mar. 1970], Vital Speeches of the Day 36 (1970): 424.

174. U.S. Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations, Staff Study of Major Riots and Civil Disorders.

175. Ted Robert Gurr, “Protest and Rebellion in the 1960s: The United States in World Perspective,” in Violence in America: Volume 2 Protest, Rebellion, Reform.

176. Nixon, “Toward Freedom from Fear,” 12936.

177. American Museum of the Moving Image.

178. Quoted in Klinkner, Philip A. and Smith, Rogers M., The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 292.

179. CQ Almanac 1968, 1042.

180. Nixon, “Toward Freedom from Fear,” 12936.

181. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, To Establish Justice, 44.

182. CQ Almanac 1969, 687.

183. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, To Establish Justice, 157.

184. Lynch and Goldberg, Dollars and Sense of Justice.

185. Sam J. Ervin, Jr., “Failure of Preventive Detention,” in Crime and Justice, 394. Originally printed in The New York Times, 19 Aug. 1972.

186. The “no knock” provision meant that police could legally enter a residence without knocking first if lives would be endangered or if the evidence would be compromised.

187. Warren Weaver, Jr., “Senate Approves Stiff Crime Bill For Washington,” in Crime and Justice, 382. Originally printed in The New York Times, 24 Jul. 1970.

188. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, To Establish Justice, 55.

189. Harris, Justice, 105.

190. CQ Almanac 1968.

191. Qtd. in Fred P. Graham, “Mitchell and Hoover: Focus Differs on Crime Data,” in Crime and Justice, 269; emphasis added. Originally printed in The New York Times, 8 Sept. 1971.

192. Cronin, Cronin, and Milakovich, U.S. v. Crime in the Streets, 95.

193. Hannah Shields and Mae Churchill, “The Fraudulent War on Crime,” The Nation, 21 Dec. 1974, 648–55.

194. Robert B. Semple, Jr., “Nixon Says He Kept Vow To Check Rise in Crime,” in Crime and Justice, 271. Originally printed in The New York Times, 16 Oct. 1968.

195. Ramsey Clark, “Liberty and Safety,” in Crime and Justice, 384. Originally printed in The New York Times, 19 Nov. 1968.

196. John Herbers, “Democrats Shift to Right, in Line with G.O.P., on Crime Issue,” in Crime and Justice, 268–69. Originally printed in The New York Times, 12 Oct. 1968.

197. Harris, Justice, 178.

198. Parenti, Christian, Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (New York: Verso, 1999), 14.

199. Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White, 61.

200. I compiled all polls related to criminal justice that were asked at least two times between 1950 and 1990 and calculated a composite measure of ‘policy mood’ using James Stimson's algorithm. This technique enables analysis of global public opinion using survey marginals on related and overlapping survey items. For more information, see Kellstedt, Paul M., “Media Framing and the Dynamics of Racial Policy Preferences,” American Journal of Political Science 44 (2000): 239–55; Kellstedt, Paul M., The Mass Media and the Dynamics of American Racial Attitudes (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003). The program can be found at last accessed: 13 Dec. 2005. To gather items on criminal justice, I searched Gallup, the Odum Institute holdings, several national surveys including the ANES and GSS, as well as Roper Center holdings. The resulting criminal justice composite measure includes 11 series containing questions on the death penalty, rights of the accused, harsh courts, and spending on various aspects of criminal justice. By treating these separate indicators as part of a global disposition, I sidestep the problem of inconsistent survey measures that has prevented scholars studying public opinion on race and crime from longitudinal analysis.

201. Beckett, Making Crime Pay.

202. Loo, Dennis D. and Grimes, Ruth-Ellen M., “Polls, Politics, and Crime: The “Law and Order” Issue of the 1960s,” Western Criminology Review 5 (2004): 5067.

203. Caplan, “Reflections on the Nationalization of Crime,” 612.

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