HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, FAS


Calamities often disrupt the status quo. After the influenza pandemic that began during World War I and lasted two years, many Europeans turned to socialism, fascism, and Bolshevism. In the United States, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 followed by the Great Depression induced many people to reject laissez-faire capitalism in favor of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, with its social safety-net programs, public-works projects, and government regulations. Yet not all such catastrophic events lead to an appetite for change. After World War I, Americans, unlike Europeans, longed for a return to what President Warren G. Harding termed “normalcy.” The immigration door slammed shut, isolationism raged, and popular fear of Communism led to the Red Scare.


Michael B. Henderson, David M. Houston, Paul E. Peterson, and Martin R. West. "Hunger for Stability Quells Appetite for Change: Results of the 2021 Education Next Survey of Public Opinion." Education Next 22.1 (Winter 2022): 8-26.