Chapter

The Conservative Movement

Carol A. Horton

in Race and the Making of American Liberalism

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780195143485
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850402 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143485.003.0009
The Conservative Movement

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This chapter analyzes the development of the contemporary conservative movement from the late 1960s through the 1980s. In the 1970s, neoconservatism played a particularly important role in fashioning a new brand of racial conservatism with a powerful cultural resonance. Framed in the liberal language of non-discrimination and equal rights, this position denounced race-conscious policies and equalitarian politics more broadly as politically illegitimate and socially destructive. During the same period, veteran conservative activists regrouped to organize the New Right, which combined a powerful appeal to the intertwined racial and class identities of working-class whites with innovative and effective techniques of political organizing. Together, the neoconservatives and the New Right laid the foundations for a new conservative political establishment with the organizational muscle to systematically market conservative ideas, engineer a conservative takeover of the Republican Party, leverage a more conservative federal judiciary, and mobilize grassroots support for conservative causes. While encompassing a wide range of issues, a central—and ultimately successful—goal of the movement was to banish socioeconomic equity issues from the forum of legitimate political discussion.

Keywords: Republican Party; conservative movement; neoconservatism; racial conservatism; New Right; equal rights; non-discrimination; socioeconomic equity; judiciary

Chapter.  12758 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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