From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism

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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.

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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.

Senator John F. 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: "Korea, Communism and Corruption.

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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.

In Libertarians: the Chirping Sectaries Kirk wrote that the only thing libertarians and conservatives have in common is a detestation of collectivism. The answer to that question is simple: nothing. Nor will they ever have. The most effective organizer and proponent of conservative ideas was William F. Buckley, Jr. 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.

A. v. d. Goltz u.a. (Hrsg.): Inventing the Silent Majority

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: traditionalists, Catholic intellectuals, libertarians and ex-Communists. 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. Austrian economist F.

History of conservatism in the United States - Wikipedia

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.

The Old vs New Right Conservatives and Libertarians

Robert W. Welch Jr.


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.

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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.

The Conservative 1960s

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.

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  8. 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.