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Brought up in a poor neighborhood, he shined shoes, attended various public , private, and parochial schools , and ultimately graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. He was a parishioner of St. Moynihan briefly worked as a longshoreman before entering the City College of New York CCNY , which at that time provided free higher education to city residents.
He was assigned to the V-12 Navy College Training Program at Middlebury College from 1944 to 1945 and then enrolled as a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps student at Tufts University , where he received an undergraduate degree in naval science in 1946. He completed active service as gunnery officer of the USS Quirinus at the rank of lieutenant junior grade in 1947. Moynihan then returned to Tufts, where he completed a second undergraduate degree in sociology  cum laude in 1948 and earned an M.
After failing the Foreign Service Officer exam, he continued his doctoral studies at the Fletcher School as a Fulbright fellow at the London School of Economics from 1950 to 1953. Moynihan returned to academia, serving as a lecturer for brief periods at Russell Sage College 1957—1958 and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations 1959 before taking a tenure-track position at Syracuse University 1960—1961.
Kennedy and Johnson Administrations; controversy over the War on Poverty[ edit ] Moynihan first served in the Kennedy administration as special 1961—1962 and executive 1962—1963 assistant to Labor Secretaries Arthur J.
In this capacity, he did not have operational responsibilities. He devoted his time to trying to formulate national policy for what would become the War on Poverty. His small staff included Ralph Nader. They took inspiration from the book Slavery written by Stanley Elkins. Elkins essentially contended that slavery had made black Americans dependent on the dominant society, and that such dependence still existed a century later after the American Civil War.
Moynihan and his staff believed that government must go beyond simply ensuring that members of minority groups have the same rights as the majority and must also "act affirmatively" in order to counter the problem of historic discrimination. These recipients were families with children but only one parent almost invariably the mother. The laws at that time permitted such families to receive welfare payments in certain parts of the United States. Moynihan issued his research under the title The Negro Family: Critics on the left attacked it as " blaming the victim ",  a slogan coined by psychologist William Ryan.
Long and Louis O. After the 1994 Republican sweep of Congress , Moynihan agreed that correction was needed for a welfare system that possibly encouraged women to raise their children without fathers: For this reason he was not favored by then-President Johnson, and he left the Johnson Administration in 1965.
Haldeman ,  a close friend of Ehrlichman since college and his main patron in the administration. NATO was chosen, since the organization had suitable expertise in the field, as well as experience with international research coordination. The German government was skeptical and saw the initiative as an attempt by the US to regain international terrain after the lost Vietnam War. The topics gained momentum in civil conferences and institutions.
The subject has been too much talked about. The forum has been too much taken over to hysterics, paranoids, and boodlers on all sides. We need a period in which Negro progress continues and racial rhetoric fades.
The relationship between the two countries was at a low point following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Ambassador Moynihan was alarmed that two great democracies were cast as antagonists, and set out to fix things.
He proposed that part of the burdensome debt be written off, part used to pay for US embassy expenses in India, and the remaining converted into Indian rupees to fund an Indo-US cultural and educational exchange program that lasted for a quarter century.
Under President Gerald Ford , Ambassador Moynihan took a hardline anti-communist stance, in line with the agenda of the White House at the time. He was also a strong supporter of Israel ,  condemning UN Resolution 3379 , which declared Zionism to be a form of racism. Gerald Ford considered Indonesia, then under a military dictatorship, a key ally against Communism , which was influential in East Timor.
The Indonesian invasion caused the deaths of 100,000—200,000 Timorese through violence, illness, and hunger. The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.
In his 1993 book on nationalism, Pandaemonium, he wrote that as time progressed, he began to view the Soviet Union in less ideological terms. He regarded it less as an expansionist, imperialist Marxist state, and more as a weak realist state in decline. He believed it was most motivated by self-preservation. This view would influence his thinking in subsequent years, when he became an outspoken proponent of the then-unpopular view that the Soviet Union was a failed state headed for implosion.
Demoralized, Moynihan resigned from what he would subsequently characterize as an "abbreviated posting" in February 1976. In Pandaemonium, Moynihan expounded upon this decision, maintaining that he was "something of an embarrassment to my own government, and fairly soon left before I was fired. Senate from the State of New York, defeating U. Representative Bella Abzug , former U. Buckley in the general election. Finding that it was, he produced a yearly report known as the Fisc from the French .
Senator Kit Bond , nearing retirement in 2010, recalled with some embarrassment in a conversation on civility in political discourse that Moynihan had once "slugged [Bond] on the Senate floor after Bond denounced an earmark Moynihan had slipped into a highway appropriations bill.
Moynihan argued there was no active Soviet-backed conspiracy in Latin America , or anywhere. He suggested the U. In a December 21, 1986, editorial in the New York Times , Moynihan predicted the replacement on the world stage of Communist expansion with ethnic conflicts. It is to try to sort out what would be involved in reconstituting the American government in the aftermath of the cold war. Huge changes took place, some of which we hardly notice. Moynihan introduced Section 1706 of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 , which cost certain professionals like computer programmers, engineers, draftspersons, and designers who depended on intermediary agencies consulting firms a self-employed tax status option, but other professionals like accountants and lawyers continued to enjoy Section 530 exemptions from payroll taxes.
This change in the tax code was expected to offset the tax revenue losses of other legislation that Moynihan proposed to change the law of foreign taxes of Americans working abroad. Reilly , who served under President George H. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He said of the procedure: A child has been born and it has exited the uterus.
What on Earth is this procedure? He challenged them saying, "you women are ruining the Democratic Party with your insistence on abortion. Seeking to focus the debate over health insurance on the financing of health care, Moynihan garnered controversy by stating that "there is no health care crisis in this country. He was critical of proposals to replace the progressive income tax with a flat tax.
Moynihan surprised many in 1991 when he voted against authorization of the Gulf War. Despite his earlier writings on the negative effects of the welfare state, he surprised many people again by voting against welfare reform in 1996. He was sharply critical of the bill and certain Democrats who crossed party lines to support it. Public speaker[ edit ] Moynihan was a popular public speaker with a distinctly patrician style. He had some peculiar mannerisms of speech, in the form of slight stuttering and drawn-out vowels for emphasis.
Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg compared his speaking style to that of William F. Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy In the post- Cold War era, the 103rd Congress enacted legislation directing an inquiry into the uses of government secrecy.
Moynihan chaired the Commission, which studied and made recommendations on the "culture of secrecy" that pervaded the United States government and its intelligence community for 80 years, beginning with the Espionage Act of 1917 , and made recommendations on the statutory regulation of classified information.
As part of the effort, Moynihan secured release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation of its classified Venona file. Much of the information had been collected and classified as secret information for over 50 years. After release of the information, Moynihan authored Secrecy: The American Experience  where he discussed the impact government secrecy has had on the domestic politics of America for the past half century, and how myths and suspicion created an unnecessary partisan chasm.
Career as scholar[ edit ] In addition to his career as a politician and a diplomat, Moynihan worked as a sociologist. In magazines such as Commentary and The Public Interest, he published articles on urban ethnic politics and on the problems of the poor in cities of the Northeast. Moynihan coined the term "professionalization of reform," by which the government bureaucracy thinks up problems for government to solve rather than simply responding to problems identified elsewhere.
In 1983 he was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Award given by the American Political Science Association "in recognition of notable public service by a political scientist. Will , to remark that Dr. Moynihan "wrote more books than most senators have read.