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The cyclical theory refers to a model used by historian Arthur Schlesinger to attempt to explicate the fluctuations in politics throughout American History. Liberalism and conservatism are rooted in the “national mood” that shows a continuing shift in national involvement between public purpose and private interest. Each of these cycles includes a phase of dominant public interest, a transition phase, and a phase of prevalent private interest. Contents * 1 The cycles * 2 Definitions * 3 Private interest * 4 Public purpose * 5 Transition * 6 Conclusions * 7 See also * 8 References
| The cycles
Schlesinger defined these to be “self-generating and autonomous”. They begin in the mentality of the masses, rather than creations of influential individuals of a time period. Leaders or politicians are representations of the “mood”, chosen to express the voice of the majority. Shifts in the national mentality are initiated when discontent with present conditions over time drives Americans to pursue a new trend that promises to satisfy the interest of the masses. This discontent, described by Schlesinger as “inextinguishable”, drives the cycles of change in national politics. Modernity is the psychology behind the disenchantment of the people with their surroundings. As society modernizes, or advances, the external conditions around each individual evolves, therefore stimulating changes in the individual’s attitude. Over a period of time, the attitude towards society and its goals will become negative, and whichever stage (public purpose/private interest), will cease to be ideal. Studies and surveys show that in the 20th century, this critical time period to develop discontent has decreased, implying that people are quickly dissatisfied with the ever-changing society. Shifts are produced by changes in the mood of the majority. When more and more people shift from one end...
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