M. E. Bradford, the Reagan Right, and the Resurgence of Confederate Nationalism

Fred Arthur Bailey

in Painting Dixie Red

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036847
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043999 | DOI:
M. E. Bradford, the Reagan Right, and the Resurgence of Confederate Nationalism

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This chapter tracks the extraordinary influence of Texas literary figure and political philosopher Melvin E. Bradford on the development of modern conservatism and the Republican appeal in the South. Bradford's aversion to all forms of egalitarianism—including racial—deeply influenced his work, and that of other key southern conservatives, as Bradford became a theoretical rock star for the political right during the 1980s. The author of scores of popular and professional articles, Bradford was also an accomplished orator who supported conservatives from George Wallace to Ronald Reagan and, in return, was rewarded with celebrity and a position in the Reagan Administration. The chapter argues that Bradford's case for an ordered society premised upon the supposed innate inequality of mankind (based on a faulty understanding of the American Revolution and the Civil War) was highly influential to a host of neo-Confederate and other modern conservative and Republican thinkers, especially in the South.

Keywords: Melvin E. Bradford; Vanderbilt Agrarians; League of the South; Neo-Confederacy; Ronald Reagan; Equality; Voting Rights; Texas

Chapter.  10353 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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