Readers may find the presidential address to the 2010 Organization of American Historians, timely and of interest. It is printed in the current issue of the Journal of American History (March 2011). The abstract of May's talk follows, along with a link to the reprint of the address (access is to members, only).
Security against Democracy: The Legacy of the Cold War at Home
In her presidential address to the 2010 Organization of American Historians annual meeting, Read onlineobserves that over the last half century, Americans have become obsessed with security: national as well as personal. When American leaders talk about security, they often emphasize the need to protect and preserve our democracy. But since the early Cold War era, Americans have understood that it was their individual, private responsibility to provide security for themselves and their families in the face of internal and external threats. This has led Americans to distrust each other as well as their government and to develop a vigilante mentality. May argues that rather than strengthening democracy, the quest for security has undermined and weakened democratic practices. (pp. 939–57)