A New Kind of Conservatism the John Birch Society

Jonathan M. Schoenwald

in A Time for Choosing

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195157260
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849390 | DOI:
A New Kind of Conservatism the John Birch Society

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The John Birch Society (JBS) is the premier example of right-wing activism in the early 1960s. JBS became more visible, but its potential to wield political power was untested. Clearly some conservatives — namely the extremists — had entered a new era, and liberals were only now finding out what they were up against. The contributions of Robert H. W. Welch, Jr. on JBS are described. Birchers distinguished themselves from the rest of the population in many ways, not least by their choice to join an organization that ardently and aggressively criticized the government. The JBS forced the government to reconsider what was acceptable political behavior on the Right as well as on the Left. But between the advent of the JBS and the dawning of the 1964 election, the first true political litmus test for conservatives since the early 1950s, was an event that helped both to spark and to assess the conservative consolidation: the case of General Edwin A. Walker.

Keywords: John Birch Society; conservatism; extremists; conservatives; Robert Welch; Edwin A. Walker

Chapter.  18340 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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