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A Time for Choosing

Jonathan Schoenwald

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195157260
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849390 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157260.001.0001
A Time for Choosing

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In the 1960s, conservatives did nothing less than engineer their own revolution. This book tells the remarkable story behind this transformation. In the first decade after World War II, two broad branches of organized conservatism emerged: mainstream or electoral conservatism and extremist conservatism. By the end of the 1950s, both groups had grown dissatisfied with the Republican Party, yet they disagreed about how to create political change. Looking to private organizations as a means of exerting influence, extremists tapped the reserves of conservative discontent and formed maverick factions such as the John Birch Society. Mainstream conservatives, on the other hand, attempted to capture the GOP, seeking reform through the electoral and party systems. They “drafted” Barry Goldwater as their presidential candidate in 1964, and though he suffered a devastating defeat, the campaign electrified millions of Americans. Four years later, American conservatism was firmly in the ascent. This book provides the fullest picture yet of the way conservatism's two cultures combined to build a triumphant political movement from the ground up. It explores in dramatic detail how conservatives took immediate action following the Goldwater debacle. William F. Buckley, Jr.'s 1965 bid for Mayor of New York City and Ronald Reagan's 1966 California governor's campaign helped turn the tide for electoral conservatism. By the decade's end, independent “splinter groups” vied for the right to bear the conservative standard into the next decade, demonstrating the movement's strength and vitality. Although conservative ideology was not created during the 1960s, its political components were.

Keywords: American conservatism; Republican Party; mainstream conservatism; electoral conservatism; extremist conservatism; conservatives; Barry Goldwater; William F. Buckley, Jr.; Ronald Reagan

Book.  348 pages. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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Table of Contents

Introduction in A Time for Choosing

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The Cold War Hits Home in A Time for Choosing

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Buckley For Mayor in A Time for Choosing

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Conclusion in A Time for Choosing

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