Modern Conservatism

Right after the midterm you analyzed the emergence of modern liberalism with the debate between President Roosevelt and (ex-) President Hoover in 1936 on the nature of the New Deal. New Deal liberalism dominated for the next three to four decades and acceptance of its principles became the American political consensus (I’ve referred to this as the New Deal or Keynesian or liberal consensus). In your final paper you will be analyzing the breakdown of that consensus and the emergence of modern conservatism. I have referred to Ronald Reagan and his successful presidential campaign of 1980 as the culmination of this Conservative Revolution. But the seeds of this movement date back to the 1960s, arguably with Goldwater and the Sharon Statement (see lecture 21). In this paper, instead of comparing the dialogue between two documents from the same period you will be analyzing and defining modern conservatism over a longer period by using a variety of documents between 1960 and 1981. You may, as before, wish to analyze the dialogue between documents but also argue how and on what grounds they rejected New Deal liberalism. You do NOT have to thoroughly analyze all five document listed below but you MUST use Goldwater and Reagan as a minimum in developing your argument.

  1. Sharon Statement (1960)
  2. Barry Goldwater’s convention speech to the Republican National Committee in 1964
  3. Phyllis Schafley, The Fraud of the ERA (1972)
  4. Jerry Falwell’s Listen America, during the Election of 1980
  5. President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address in 1981 (NOTE: NOT his Speech in Berlin)

Guiding Questions:

1. How does modern conservatism define liberty? Use the documents to answer this question. The answer may have several components.

2. How is the context (i.e what was happening at the time) for these speeches different from the 1960s to the 1980s and why is that important for the arguments they are making and their agendas?

3. In what ways was Reagan influenced by the ideas of the previous documents?

Please make sure you state your argument in the introductory paragraph and then support it in the body of the paper using quotes from BOTH documents. As always, don’t let quotes speak for themselves but analyze what the authors meant. Your paper should be about 3 pages (ca. 1000 words), double-spaced, 1-inch margins. Please ONLY upload a file that is a word document or a pdfNO COPY PASTE NO .pages FILES(from your cloud).


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