The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good

David Goldfield
The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good by David Goldfield6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018

UNC Charlotte Center City

David Goldfield is the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at UNC Charlotte. 

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In The Gifted Generation, Goldfield examines the generation immediately after World War II and argues that the federal government was instrumental in the great economic, social, and environmental progress of the era. Following the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation, the returning vets and their children took the unprecedented economic growth and federal activism to new heights.

David Goldfield Headshot

This generation was led by presidents who believed in the commonwealth ideal: the belief that federal legislation, by encouraging individual opportunity, would result in the betterment of the entire nation. In the years after the war, these presidents – Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson -- created an outpouring of federal legislation that changed how and where people lived, their access to higher education, and their stewardship of the environment. They also spearheaded historic efforts to level the playing field for minorities, women and immigrants. But this dynamic did not last, and Goldfield shows how the shrinking of the federal government shut subsequent generations off from those gifts. 
The author or editor of 16 books including two that were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in history, Goldfield also is the editor of the Journal of Urban History and is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. He is an Academic Specialist for the U.S. State Department and an expert witness in voting rights and capital punishment cases. He is a past president of the Southern Historical Association. Goldfield serves on the advisory boards of the Human Rights organization and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and on the Board of the North Carolina Civil War and Reconstruction History Center.