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Neoconservatism An Obituary for an Idea Cato Institute Book Forum 2011

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Exclusive access Recommend to your library for acquisition. The postal address of the institution is: Buy Print version leslibraires. Auteurs, concepts et approches [online]. As time went on, the Federalists lost appeal with the average voter and were generally not equal to the tasks of party organization; hence, they grew steadily weaker. They retained some local support into the s, but important leaders left their fading cause, including future presidents John Quincy Adams and James Buchanan , and future Chief Justice Roger B.

Calhoun of South Carolina , at various times a Jeffersonian Republican, a Whig and a Democrat, was always an independent thinker. He moved from a strong nationalist position in the s and s, to a states rights position emphasizing the rights of minorities by which he meant white South , and rejecting a powerful central government.

Jefferson and Madison in had developed a theory of nullification that would enable would enable states to reject unconstitutional federal actions. Calhoun picked up the idea and further developed it as a defense against federal attacks on slavery. His ideas were enormously influential among southern politicians and intellectuals in the decade after his death in ; his ideas Were often used promote secession in as a legal, constitutional escape valve for the South.

Calhoun of South Carolina. Abraham Lincoln was the first president elected by the newly formed Republican Party , and Lincoln has been an iconic figure for American politicians of both parties. According to historian Striner, " He was both, and his politics engendered a long-term tradition of centrism Historian David Hackett Fischer stresses Lincoln's conservative views. In the s, "Lincoln was a prosperous corporate lawyer, and a member of the conservative Whig party for many years. In , he explained what he meant by conservatism in terms of fealty to the original intent of the Founding Fathers:.

Lincoln elaborated his position in his famous Cooper Union speech before Republican elites in New York on February 27, He argued that the Founding Fathers expected slavery to die a natural death, not to spread. His point was that the Founding Fathers were anti-slavery and the notion that slavery was good was a radical innovation that violated American ideals.

This speech solidified Lincoln's base in the Republican Party and helped assure his nomination. During the war, Lincoln was the leader of the moderate Republicans who fought the Radical Republicans on the issues of dealing with slavery and re-integrating the South into the nation. He built the stronger coalition, holding together conservative and moderate Republicans, and War Democrats, against the Radicals who wanted to deny him renomination in But when Lincoln was assassinated, the Radicals gained the upper hand and imposed much harsher terms than those Lincoln had wished.

James Randall is one of many who see Lincoln as holding 19th century liberal positions, while at the same time emphasizing Lincoln's tolerance and moderation "in his preference for orderly progress, his distrust of dangerous agitation, and his reluctance toward ill digested schemes of reform. After the Civil War, "conservative" came to mean opposition to the Radical Republicans who wanted to grant full citizenship rights to freed slaves and take political power away from the ex-Confederates.

The race-based conservatism in the American South differed from the business-based conservatism in the North in its strong support for white supremacy, and insistence on a second-class powerless status for blacks, regardless of the Constitution. By the late s conservative Southern Democrats in Congress joined with most Northern Republicans in an informal Conservative Coalition that usually proved decisive in stopping liberal domestic legislation until With the Southern strategy of the Republican party in the late s, the white southern conservatives shifted their support from the Democratic party to the Republican party, forming a very dominant solid south block of social conservatives in the Republican party.

However the Southerners generally were much more internationalist than the mostly isolationist Northern Republicans in the Coalition. Fundamentalism , especially on the part of Southern Baptists , was a powerful force in Southern conservative politics beginning in the late s. There was little nostalgia and backward looking in the dynamic North and West during the Gilded Age , the period in the U.

Business was expanding rapidly, with manufacturing, mining, railroads, and banking leading the way. There were millions of new farms in the prairie states. Immigration reached record levels. Progress was the watchword of the day. The wealth of the period is highlighted by American upper class opulence, but also by the rise of American philanthropy referred to by Andrew Carnegie as the "Gospel of Wealth" that used private money to endow thousands of colleges, hospitals, museums, academies, schools, opera houses, public libraries, symphony orchestras, and charities.

Conservatives in the 20th Century, looking back at the Gilded Age, retroactively applied the word "conservative" to those who supported unrestrained Capitalism. For example, Oswald Garrison Villard , writing in , characterized his former mentor Horace White — as "a great economic conservative; had he lived to see the days of the New Deal financing he would probably have cried out loud and promptly demised. In this sense, the conservative element of the Democratic party was led by the Bourbon Democrats and their hero President Grover Cleveland , who fought against high tariffs and on behalf of the gold standard.

In , the Bourbons were overthrown inside the Democratic Party by William Jennings Bryan and the agrarians, who preached " Free Silver " and opposition to the power that banks and railroads had over the American farmer. The agrarians formed a coalition with the Populists and vehemently denounced the politics of big business, especially in the decisive election , won by Republican William McKinley , who was easily reelected over Bryan in as well. Religious conservatives of this period sponsored a large and flourishing media network, especially based on magazines, many with close ties to the Protestant churches that were rapidly expanding due to the Third Great Awakening.

Catholics had few magazines but opposed agrarianism in politics and established hundreds of schools and colleges to promote their conservative religious and social values. Modern conservatives often point to William Graham Sumner — , a leading public intellectual of the era, as one of their own, citing his articulate support for free markets , anti-imperialism , and the gold standard , and his opposition to what he saw as threats to the middle class from the rich plutocrats above or the agrarians and ignorant masses below. The Gilded Age came to an end with the Panic of and the severe nationwide depression that lasted from to The two parties re-aligned in the election of , with the conservative Republicans, led by William McKinley , becoming the party of business, sound money , and assertive foreign policy, while the Democratic Party, led by William Jennings Bryan , became the party of the worker, the small farmer, "Free Silver" inflationists, Populists, and in anti-imperialism.

Bryan's people took control of the Democratic Party away from the Cleveland Democrats also called " Bourbon Democrats " at the convention, where year old Bryan electrified the left by blaming international bankers for crucifying mankind upon "a cross of gold. While Bryan preached the overthrow of evil men, the opposition showed that silver right panaceas would wreck the economy for decades, deprived factory workers of their livelihood, cheat honest businessmen, and install a holy un-American regime.

The term "socialist" has long been used as an epithet by conservatives that goes far beyond issues of municipal ownership. Supporters of Republican conservative William McKinley distributed over a million copies to rally opposition to William Jennings Bryan , nominee of both the Democratic and Populist parties. White, according to historian David Hinshaw, used "socialistic" as "his big gun to blast radical opposition. As the 19th century drew to a close the United States became an imperial power, with overseas territories in Hawaii, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, and control over Cuba. Imperialism won out, as the election of ratified McKinley's policies and the U.

Theodore Roosevelt promoted the military and naval advantages of the U. Meanwhile, the imperialistic Republicans lost interest. The supposed business, religious, and military advantages of having an empire proved illusory; by or so the most ardent conservative imperialists, especially William Howard Taft , and Elihu Root turned their attention to building up an army and navy at home and to building the Panama Canal. Aldrich introduced the Sixteenth Amendment , which allowed the federal government to collect an income tax; he also set in motion the design of the Federal Reserve System , which began in Conservative Senator John Sherman sponsored the nation's basic anti-trust law in , and conservatives generally supported anti-trust in the name of opposing monopoly and opening up opportunities for small business.

Aldrich and later President Herbert Hoover ; with its pro-business, quasi-engineering approach to solve social and economic problems. The issues of prohibition and woman suffrage split the conservatives. The "insurgents" were on the Left of the Republican Party. Led by Robert M. Norris of Nebraska, and Hiram Johnson of California, they fought the conservatives in a series of bitter battles that split the GOP and allowed the Democratic Party to take control of Congress in Teddy Roosevelt, a hawk on foreign and military policy, moved increasingly to the Left on domestic issues regarding courts, unions, railroads, big business, labor unions and the welfare state.

In —12 he took control of the insurgency, formed a third party, and ran an unsuccessful campaign for president on the Progressive Party ticket in His departure left the conservatives, led by President William Howard Taft , dominant in the Republican party until The Great War broke out in , with Wilson proclaiming neutrality.

Former President Theodore Roosevelt denounced Wilson's foreign policy, charging, 'Had it not been for Wilson's pusillanimity, the war would have been over by the summer of Republicans returned to dominance in with the election of President Warren G. Harding , who ran a campaign that pledged a return to normalcy.

Tucker argues that the election marked the "high tide of American conservatism," as both major candidates campaigned for limited government, reduced taxes, and less regulation.

Théories de la politique étrangère américaine

During s, religious fundamentalists like minister William Bell Riley and William Jennings Bryan , the three-time Democratic presidential nominee, led the battle against the theory of Darwinian Evolution. They considered it false and blasphemous and helped pass laws to make the teaching of evolution in public schools a state crime.

The Scopes Trial of was a nationally publicized challenge to their efforts which largely discredited the movement. Representative of the — era, was James M. Beck , a lawyer under Presidents Roosevelt, Harding and Coolidge, and a congressman from — He espoused conservative principles such as nationalism, individualism, constitutionalism, laissez-faire economics, property rights, and opposition to reform. Conservatives like Beck saw the need to regulate bad behavior in the corporate world with the intention of protecting corporate capitalism from radical forces, but they were alarmed by the anti-business and pro-union proposals of Roosevelt after They began to question the notion of a national authority beneficial to big capital, and instead emphasized legalism, concern for the Constitution, and reverence for the American past.

Conservatives were especially sensitive to the perception of Communist elements trying to change national policies and values in the U. Conservatives enthusiastically supported anti-Communist agencies such as the FBI , were chief proponents of the Congressional investigations of the s and s, particularly those led by Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy , and were wary of ex-Communists who exposed the system, such as Whittaker Chambers.

A tension between mainstream academia and conservatism has been a factor for generations. Richard Hofstadter found that opposition to conservatism has been common among intellectuals since about There were, however, conservative intellectuals inside and out of mainstream academia, who, during early and midth century, propagated conservative values and shaped the intellectual base of modern conservatism. Weaver , Whittaker Chambers etc. A classic conservative work of the period is Democracy and Leadership by Irving Babbitt.

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Numerous literary figures developed a conservative sensibility and warned of threats to Western Civilization. In the — era Henry Adams , T. Eliot , Allen Tate , Andrew Lytle , Donald Davidson , and others feared that heedless scientific innovation would unleash forces that would undermine traditional Western values and lead to the collapse of civilization. Instead they searched for a rationale for promoting traditional cultural values in the face of their fear of an onslaught by moral nihilism based on historical and scientific relativism.

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Conservatism as an intellectual movement in the South after was represented by writers such as Flannery O'Connor and the Southern Agrarians. The focus was on traditionalism and hierarchy. Numerous former Communist or Trotskyite writers repudiated the Left in the s or s and embraced conservatism, becoming contributors to National Review in the s.

Dozens of small circulation magazines aimed at intellectuals promoted the conservative cause in the 20th century. Major newspapers in metropolitan centers with conservative editorial viewpoints have played an important part in the development of American conservatism. In the — era, the Hearst chain, [97] and the McCormick family newspapers especially the Chicago Tribune [98] , and the Los Angeles Times [99] championed most conservative causes, as did the Henry Luce magazines, Time and Fortune.

His Fireside Chats especially influenced young radio broadcaster Ronald Reagan, who was an enthusiastic New Dealer at that time. The Wall Street Journal has continuously been a major voice of conservatism since the s, and remains so since its takeover by Rupert Murdoch in As editor of the editorial page, Vermont C. Royster — , and Robert L. Bartley — , were especially influential in providing a conservative interpretation of the news on a daily basis.

Carol Mason

During the s, the seeds of modern conservatism was born with the opposition towards the New Deal of President Franklin D. Conservative mostly Midwestern Republicans and Southern Democrats united for the first time, and distinct characteristics of modern conservatism began to appear.

The Great Depression which followed the stock market collapse led to price deflation, massive unemployment, falling farm incomes, investment losses, bank failures, business bankruptcies and reduced government revenues. Herbert Hoover 's protectionist economic policies failed to halt the depression, and in the presidential election, Democratic Franklin D.

Roosevelt won a landslide victory. Roosevelt's New Deal had considerable conservative support at the start, but by the conservatives started uniting in opposition to the president. The counterattack first came from conservative Democrats, led by presidential nominees John W. Opposition to the New Deal also came from the Old Right , a group of conservative free-market anti-interventionists, originally associated with Midwestern Republicans led by Hoover and, after , by Senator Robert A.

Ex-President Hoover moved sharply to the Right after , abandoning his earlier Progressivism. Hoover became a senior statesman of "conservative republicanism" until his death in , and made his research center the Hoover Institution a major think tank for the right. Buoyed by his landslide win in , which decimated the GOP in Congress, Roosevelt in early astonished the nation by his "court-packing scheme", announcing his plan to add six more justices to the nine on the Supreme Court who had been overturning New Deal legislations as unconstitutional. Roosevelt was defeated in the Court initiative and fought back by targeting his enemies in the Democratic primaries.

The national economy was in a sharp recession, and widespread labor strikes were making unions highly controversial. Roosevelt failed as all but one Congressman resisted the "purge". Opposition to Roosevelt doubled among Southern Democratic Congressmen. The Conservative Coalition generally controlled Congress until ; no major legislation passed which the Coalition opposed. Its most prominent leaders were Senator Robert A. According to James T. The conservative coalition was not concerned with foreign policy, as most of the Southern Democrats were internationalists, a position opposed by most Republicans.

The key Republican conservative was Senator Taft. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in , , and , and was a staunch isolationist who opposed American membership in NATO and the fight against Communism in the Korean War Many conservatives, especially in the Midwest, in —41 favored isolationism and opposed American entry into World War II—and so did some liberals.

Conservatives in the East and South were generally interventionist, as typified by Henry Stimson. However, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Dec. Thomas Jefferson has been a major hero to both left and right, although at different times for different reasons. In the New Deal era of the s, Jefferson's memory became contested ground. Roosevelt greatly admired Jefferson and had the Jefferson Memorial built to honor his hero. Even more dramatic, however, was the reaction of the conservatives, as typified by the American Liberty League comprising mostly conservative Democrats who resembled the Bourbon Democrats of the — era , and the Republican Party.

Conservative Republicans abandoned their Hamiltonian views because they led to enlarged national government. Their opposition to Roosevelt's New Deal was cast in explicitly Jeffersonian small-government terms, and Jefferson became a hero of the Right. The modern conservative political movement, combining elements from both traditional conservatism and libertarianism , emerged following World War II, but had its immediate political roots in reaction to the New Deal. Those two branches of conservatism allied the post World War I anti-communism thought. They defended a system in which the state should have a limited role to play in individual affairs.

In the early s, Dr. Russell Kirk defined the boundaries and resting grounds of conservatism. In his book, "The Conservative Mind", Dr. Kirk wrote six "truisms" [] that became major concepts for conservatism philosophy. Another important name in the domain of U. S conservatism is James Burnham. Burnham, philosopher in training but remembered for his political life, unsettled some foundations of conservatism when he, fervent opponent of liberalism, took position in favor of the Conscription. In another book called Rebels All , the authors sought to define the main goals of Post-War conservatism in the United States.

In , conservative Republicans took control of Congress and opened investigations into communist infiltration of the federal government under Roosevelt. Based on the testimony of Whittaker Chambers , an ex-Communist who became a leading anti-Communist and hero to conservatives, Hiss was convicted of perjury. Truman's Cold War policies had the support of most conservatives except for the remaining isolationists. The Coalition did not play a role in foreign affairs.

In , the Conservative Coalition in Congress passed the Taft—Hartley Act , balancing the rights of management and unions, and delegitimizing Communist union leaders. However, the major job of rooting out communists from labor unions and the Democratic party was undertaken by liberals, such as Walter Reuther of the autoworkers union [] and Ronald Reagan of the Screen Actors Guild Reagan was a Democrat at that time.

One typical mid-century conservative Republican in Congress was Noah M. Mason — , who represented a rural downstate district in Illinois from to Less flamboyant and less well known than his colleague Everett McKinley Dirksen , he ardently supported states' rights in order to minimize the federal role, for he feared federal regulation of business. He distrusted Roosevelt, and gave many speeches against high federal spending.

He called out New Dealers, such as Eveline M. Burns , Henry A. Wallace , Adolph A. Porter , as socialists, and suggested their policies resembled fascism. In , Lionel Trilling wrote that conservatives had lost the battle of ideas: For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.

When the communist North Korea invaded South Korea in Truman adopted a rollback strategy, planning to free the entire country by force. Truman decided not to obtain Congressional approval for his war—he relied on UN approval—which left the Republicans free to attack his war policies. Taft said Truman's decision was "a complete usurpation by the president.

With the Allies on the verge of victory, the Chinese communists entered the war and drove the Allies back with terrific fighting in sub-zero weather. Truman reversed positions, dropped the rollback policy, and fired the conservative hero General Douglas MacArthur who wanted rollback , and settled for containment. Truman's acceptance of the status quo at a cost of 37, Americans killed and undermined Truman's base of support. Truman did poorly in the early primaries and was forced to drop his reelection bid. When anxiety over Communism in Korea and China reached a fever pitch, an otherwise obscure Senator, Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, launched extremely high-visibility investigations into the alleged network of communist spies in the government.

Kennedy a job with McCarthy. McCarthy's careless tactics, however, allowed his opponents to effectively counterattack. McCarthy talked of "twenty years of treason" i. In , he started talking of "21 years of treason" and launched a major attack on the Army for promoting a communist dentist in the medical corps; this was too much for Eisenhower, who encouraged Republicans to censure McCarthy formally in The Senator's power collapsed overnight.

Kennedy did not vote for censure. Arthur Herman states, "McCarthy was always a more important figure to American liberals than to conservatives", because he defined the liberal target, and made liberals look like innocent victims. As shown by General Dwight D. Eisenhower 's defeat of Senator Robert A. Eisenhower then won the election by crusading against what he called Truman's failures: As President, Eisenhower promoted "Modern Republicanism," involving limited government, balanced budgets, and curbing government spending.

Although taking a firm anti-Communist position, he and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles didn't push for rollback and continued the Truman administration's policy of containment. He cut defense spending by shifting the national strategy from reliance on expensive army divisions to cheap nuclear weapons. Although he made efforts to eliminate expensive supports for farm prices, he was ultimately unsuccessful, but he met success in reducing the role of the federal government by returning offshore oil reserves to the states.

Eisenhower kept the regulatory and welfare policies of the New Deal , with the Republicans taking credit for the expansion of Social Security. He also sought to minimize conflict among economic and racial groups in the quest for social harmony, peace and prosperity. He was reelected by a landslide in While Republicans in Washington were making small reversals of the New Deal, the most critical opposition to liberalism came from conservative intellectuals.

Russell Kirk — claimed that both classical and modern liberalism placed too much emphasis on economic issues and failed to address man's spiritual nature, and called for a plan of action for a conservative political movement. He claimed that conservative leaders should appeal to farmers, small towns, the churches, and others, following the example of the British Conservative Party. Kirk adamantly opposed libertarian ideas, which he saw as a threat to true conservatism.

The answer to that question is simple: Nor will they ever have. The most effective organizer and proponent of conservative ideas was William F. Although before, there had been numerous small right-wing circulation magazines, the National Review was able to gain national attention and shaped the conservative movement due to strong editing and a strong stable of regular contributors.

Erudite, witty and tireless, Buckley inspired a new enthusiasm for the movement. Rusher Geoffrey Kabaservice asserts, "in many ways it was Rusher, not Buckley who was the founding father of the conservative movement as it currently exists. We have Rusher, not Buckley, to thank for the populist, operationally sophisticated, and occasionally extremist elements that characterize the contemporary movement.

Buckley and Rusher assembled an eclectic group of writers: The launching of a conservative weekly journal of opinion in a country widely assumed to be a bastion of conservatism at first glance looks like a work of supererogation, rather like publishing a royalist weekly within the walls of Buckingham Palace. It is not that of course; if National Review is superfluous, it is so for very different reasons: It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no other is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.

Hayek — in galvanized opponents of the New Deal by arguing that the left in Britain was leading that nation down the "road to serfdom". More influential was the Chicago school of economics , led by Milton Friedman — and George J. Stigler — , who advocated neoclassical and monetarist public policy. The Chicago School provided a vigorous criticism of regulation, on the grounds that it led to control of the regulations by the regulated industries themselves.

Since , government regulation of industry and banking has greatly decreased. The "stagflation" of the s combining high inflation and high unemployment was impossible according to Keynesian models, [] but was predicted by Friedman, giving his approach credibility among the experts. By the late s, Ebenstein argues, Friedman was "the most prominent conservative public intellectual at least in the United States and probably in the world.

According to Friedman, Americans should be "Free to Choose". He convinced many conservatives that the practice of military drafting was inefficient and unfair; consequently, Nixon ended it in Nine Chicago School economists won the Nobel prize for economics. Their views about deregulation and fiscal policy became widely accepted, following the crisis in the s. However, Friedman's "monetarism" did not fare as well, with current monetary practice targeting inflation, not the money supply.

It had tens of thousands of members and distributed books, pamphlets and the magazine American Opinion. It was so tightly controlled by Welch that its effectiveness was strictly limited, as it mostly focused on calls to impeach Chief Justice Earl Warren , as well as supporting local police.

In , Buckley won the support of Goldwater and other leading conservatives for an attack on Welch. The main disagreement between Kirk, who would become described as a traditionalist conservative , and the libertarians was whether tradition and virtue or liberty should be their primary concern. Frank Meyer tried to resolve the dispute with " fusionism ": America could not conserve its traditions without economic freedom.

He also noted that they were united in opposition to "big government" and made anti-communism the glue that would unite them. The term "conservative" was used to describe the views of National Review supporters, despite initial protests from the libertarians, because the term "liberal" had become associated with "New Deal" supporters.

They were also later known as the " New Right ", as opposed to the New Left. Despite the popular perception that conservatism is limited to Republicans, during the era of segregation before many Southern Democrats were also conservative , especially about social and racial issues. Southern Democrats were a key part of a Conservative Coalition that largely blocked liberal labor legislation in Congress from to , though they tended to be liberal and vote with the rest of the Democratic Party on other economic issues.

That argument collapsed when Congress banned segregation in This provided an opportunity for Republicans to appeal to conservative Southerners on the basis that the GOP was the more conservative party on a wide range of social and economic issues, as well as being hawkish on foreign policy when the antiwar forces gained strength in the Democratic party. Southern white conservatives moved from the Democratic Party to the GOP at the presidential level in the s, and at the state and local level after Democrat George Wallace , the newly elected governor of Alabama, in January electrified the white South by crying out for " Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!

He later stood in the schoolhouse door in a failed attempt to stop federal officials from desegregating the University of Alabama. Wallace communicated traditional conservatism in a populist, anti-elitist and "earthy" language that resonated with rural and working class voters who long had been part of the New Deal Coalition. He was able to exploit anticommunism, yearnings for "traditional" American values and dislike of civil rights agitators, anti-war protesters and sexual exhibitionists. The Wallace movement did help break away a major element of the New Deal coalition—less educated, powerless low income whites [] —which decades later made its way into the GOP in the South.

He helped pave the way for the conservative backlash of the s and s. He accused liberals of using the federal government to interfere in "everybody's private business" and as a conservative believed in "freedom for business and labor". Conservatives united behind the presidential campaign of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater — , though his campaign was ultimately unsuccessful. Goldwater published The Conscience of a Conservative , a bestselling book that explained modern conservative theory.

Goldwater was significantly weakened by his unpopular views regarding social security, income tax, and the war in Vietnam. In Tennessee, he suggested selling the Tennessee Valley Authority , which was a favorite for conservatives in its region. Support for the campaign came from numerous grassroots activists, such as Phyllis Schlafly and the newly formed Young Americans for Freedom , sponsored by Buckley to mobilize conservatives.

Buckley himself tried to win the mayoral election of New York, but failed. Despite Goldwater's defeat conservatives were rapidly organizing at the local, state, and national levels. They were most successful in suburban California, where they worked hard in for their new hero Ronald Reagan — , who was elected governor for two terms. Reagan was the leader of a dramatic conservative shift in American politics, that undercut many of the domestic and foreign policies that had dominated the national agenda for decades.

The common thread was a growing distrust of government to do the right thing on behalf of the people. While distrust of high officials had been an American characteristic for two centuries, this was brought to the forefront by the Watergate scandal of that forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon , who faced impeachment , as well as criminal trials for many of his senior associates.

The media was energized in its vigorous search for scandals, which deeply impacted both major parties at the national, state and local levels. The postwar consensus regarding the value of technology in solving national problems, especially nuclear power, came under heavy attack from the New Left. Conservatives at the state and local levels increasingly emphasized the argument that the soaring crime rates indicated a failure of liberal policy in the American cities.

Meanwhile, liberalism was facing divisive issues, as the New Left challenged established liberals on such issues as the Vietnam War, while building a constituency on campuses and among younger voters. A "cultural war" was emerging as a triangular battle among conservatives, liberals, and the New Left, involving such issues as individual freedom, divorce, sexuality, and even topics such as hair length and musical taste. The triumphal issue for liberalism was the achievement of civil rights legislation in the s, which won over the black population and created a new black electorate in the South.

However, it alienated many working-class ethnic whites, and opened the door for conservative white Southerners to move into the Republican Party. In foreign policy, The war in Vietnam was a highly divisive issue in the s. Reagan saw the Soviet Union as an implacable enemy that had to be defeated, not compromised with. A new element emerged in Iran, with the overthrow of a pro-American government, and the emergence of the stream the hostile ayatollahs. Radical students seized the American Embassy, and held American diplomats hostage for over a year, underscoring the weaknesses of the foreign policy of Jimmy Carter.

The economic scene was in doldrums, with soaring inflation undercutting the savings pattern of millions of Americans, while unemployment remained high and growth was low. Shortages of gasoline at the local pump made the energy crisis a local reality. Reagan increasingly dominated the conservative movement, especially in his failed quest for the Republican presidential nomination and his successful run in An unexpected new factor was the emergence of the religious right as a cohesive political force that gave strong support to conservatism.

By the s, many conservatives emphasized the Judeo-Christian roots of their values. Evangelicals had been politicized in the s, battling to impose prohibition and to stop the teaching of evolution in the schools as in the Scopes Trial of , but had largely been politically quiet since the s. According to Wilcox and Robinson, "The Christian Right is an attempt to restore Judeo-Christian values to a country that is in deep moral decline Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, which brought together Catholics who had long opposed abortion and evangelical Protestants who were new to the issue.

Noting the anger of Catholic bishops at losing state funding because of the Catholic opposition to gay adoptive parents, along with other social issues, the New York Times reported in late that:. The s saw the movement of many prominent liberal intellectuals to the right, many of them from New York City Jewish roots and well-established academic reputations, [] who had become disillusioned with liberalism.

Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss were founders of the movement. The magazines Commentary and Public Interest were their key outlets, as well as op-ed articles for major newspapers and position papers for think tanks. Activists around Democratic senator Henry Jackson became deeply involved as well.

Jaffa and novelist Saul Bellow. Neoconservatives generally support pro-business policies. The growth of conservatism within the Republican Party attracted white conservative Southern Democrats in presidential elections. Starting in , in the South the GOP dominated most presidential elections was the lone exception , but not until the s did the GOP become dominant in state and local politics in the region.

Through the Southern strategy , Republicans built their strength among Southern Baptists and other religious Fundamentalists, white social conservatives, middle-class suburbs, migrants from the North, and Cubans in Florida. Meanwhile, starting in , African American voters in the South began to show overwhelming support for the Democratic Party at both the presidential and local levels. They elected a number of congressmen and mayors. In , there were still many moderate white Democrats holding office in the South, but when they retired they were typically replaced by much more conservative Republicans or by liberal blacks.

The evangelical Protestants, comprising the "Religious Right", have since the s strongly influenced the vote in Republican primaries, for "it is primarily in the South where the evangelical core of the GOP is strongest. In , Lewis F. In Powell's view, this would involve monitoring "national television networks…; induc[ing] more 'publishing' by independent scholars who do believe in the [free enterprise] system"; publishing in "magazines and periodicals—ranging from the popular magazines to the more intellectual ones"; issuing "books, paperbacks, and pamphlets"; and dedicating advertising dollars to "a sustained, major effort to inform and enlighten the American people.

They typically focused on projects with immediate policy implications. Aware that the Brookings Institution had played an influential role for decades in promoting liberal ideas, the Heritage Foundation was designed as a counterpart on the right. Both think tanks became more oriented to the news media, more aggressively ideological, and more focused on rapid-response production and shorter publications. At the same time, they generally eschewed long-term research in favor of projects with immediate policy implications and produced synthetic materials rather than long-term research.

In the following decades, conservative policies once considered outside the political mainstream—such as abolishing welfare, privatizing Social Security , deregulating banking, embracing preemptive war , and teaching creationism in schools—were taken seriously and sometimes passed into law due in part to the work of the Hoover Institution , the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute , the Hudson Institute , the American Enterprise Institute, and various smaller tanks. Complaining that mainstream academia was hostile to conservatives, several foundations became especially active in funding conservative policy research, notably the Adolph Coors Foundation , the Bradley Foundation , the Koch family foundations , the Scaife Foundations , and until it closed in , the John M.

Typically, they have emphasized the need for market-based solutions to national problems. Policy entrepreneurs such as William Baroody , Edwin Feulner and Paul Weyrich started to entrench conservatism in public research institutions.

Right-Wing Literature in the United States since the 1960s

Their aim was to rival the liberal regime for the control of the sources of power. The appearance of think tanks changed the history of conservatism and left an enormous imprint on the Republican right in subsequent years. Conservatives finally found a new champion in Ronald Reagan , whose 8 years as governor of California had just ended in , and supported his campaign for the Republican nomination. Ford narrowly won renomination but lost the White House.


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Following major gains by Democratic liberals in the midterm election, Jimmy Carter was elected as President. Carter proved too liberal for his fellow Southern Baptists, as they voted for him in but not , too conservative for the mainstream of the Democratic Party, and many considered his foreign policy a failure. Carter realized there was a strong national sense of malaise, as inflation skyrocketed, interest rates soared, the economy stagnated, and prolonged humiliation resulted when Islamic militants in Tehran kept American diplomats hostage for days in — During the recessions of the s, inflation and unemployment rates soared simultaneously and budget deficits began to raise concerns among many Americans.

In the early s, America was still a moderately progressive country, as citizens supported social programs and voted down efforts to cut taxes. But by the end of the decade, a full-fledged tax revolt had gotten underway, led by the overwhelming passage in of Proposition 13 in California, which sharply cut property taxes, and the growing Congressional support for the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which proposed cutting federal income taxes by 30 percent.


  • Glenn Greenwald.
  • A Subtle Tenderness?
  • In This Article.
  • The ERA had seemed a noncontroversial effort to provide legal equality when it easily passed Congress in and quickly was ratified by 28 of the necessary 38 states. Schlafly denounced it as tilting the playing field against the traditional housewife in a power grab by anti-family feminists on the left.

    She warned it would mean women would be drafted in the Army on the same basis as men. Through her Eagle Forum she organized state-by-state to block further ratification, and to have states rescind their ratification. Congress extended the time needed, and a movement among feminists tried to boycott tourist cities in states that had not ratified such as Chicago and New Orleans. It was to no avail. The ERA never became law and Schlafly became a major spokesperson for anti-feminism in the conservative movement.

    With Ronald Reagan's victory in the modern American conservative movement took power. Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time since , and conservative principles dominated Reagan's economic and foreign policies, with supply side economics and strict opposition to Soviet Communism defining the Administration's philosophy.

    Reagan's ideas were largely espoused and supported by the conservative Heritage Foundation , which grew dramatically in its influence during the Reagan years, extended to a second term by the presidential election , as Reagan and his senior aides looked to Heritage for policy guidance. An icon of the American conservative movement, Reagan is credited by his supporters with transforming the politics of the United States, galvanizing the success of the Republican Party. He brought together a coalition of economic conservatives, who supported his supply side economics ; foreign policy conservatives, who favored his staunch opposition to Communism and the Soviet Union ; and social conservatives, who identified with his religious and social ideals.

    Reagan labeled the Soviet Union the " evil empire. For these and other efforts, Reagan was attacked by liberals at the time as a dangerous warmonger, but conservative historians assert that he decisively won the Cold War. In defining conservatism, Reagan said: I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals—if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories.