(UG16 3670 HIST)
The Conservative Movement in America
Steven P. Miller, Ph.D.
Fall 2008, T 6:30-9:00 p.m., Eliot 213
Email: email@example.com (the best way to reach me)
Phone: 314-853-5495 (for emergencies only; no calls after 8:30 p.m., please!)
*** I will be on campus approximately one hour before each class meeting.
Contact me to arrange a meeting. ***
Course Description and Themes
Over the last several decades, the conservative movement has grown into an influential force in American society. How did this come about? What do we now mean by “conservatism,” and how does this differ from what was called “conservatism” fifty years ago? This class traces the evolution of the many forms of American conservatism from the 1930s to the present, looking at political thought, grassroots activism, and electoral politics. Along the way, the course addresses such topics as isolationism and opposition to the New Deal (1930s-1940s); Cold War anticommunism (1950s); “law and order” (1960s); the new social issues, featuring St. Louis’ own Phyllis Schlafly (1970s); the Reagan Revolution (1980s); the culture wars (1990s)—and, of course, the presidency of George W. Bush. We will close the course by analyzing the future of conservative politics in light of recent history, including the 2008 presidential election.
1.) Schneider, Gregory L., ed. Conservatism in America since 1930. New York: New York University Press, 2003 (paperback).
2.) Schrecker, Ellen, ed. The Age of McCarthyism, 2nd edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002 (paperback).
3.) Heilbrunn, Jacob. They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons. Doubleday, 2008.
4.) Weekly readings (usually posted on Telesis; otherwise, handouts).
Class Structure and Expectations
Classes consist of both lectures and discussions. Lectures outline critical themes, provide important factual information, and frame key questions for subsequent discussions. Fruitful discussion requires close engagement of the readings, listed just below each class date.
Since this is a once a week course, you are advised to attend every session. Please clear foreseeable excused absences in advance. In the event of emergencies—e.g., illness—please notify me of your absence as soon as is convenient.
If you require accommodations for exams or for lectures, please contact Cornerstone: the Center for Advanced Learning, located in Gregg Hall (935-5970, www.cornerstone.wustl.edu). Cornerstone serves as the official University resource for approving and arranging students’ accommodations. All information is treated as confidential. I will provide accommodations for which you qualify as long as I receive the appropriate documentation from Cornerstone.
Grading Scale: A 93-100 C+ 77-79
A- 90-92 C 73-76
B+ 87-89 C- 70-72
B 83-86 D 60-69
B- 80-82 F 0-59
Integrity and Plagiarism
9/2 Introduction: Putting American Conservatism in Context
Dan T. Carter, “The Rise of Conservatism Since World War II” (2003) (in class)
9/9 Ideas Matter: Libertarian and Traditionalist Conservatism
Conservatism in America since 1930 (Conservatism): 1-4; 49-51; F. A. Hayek, 53-65; Mont Pelerin Society, 66-67; 91-94; Russell Kirk, 107-121; and Frank S. Meyer, 122-129.
9/16 The Transformation of Post-World War II Conservatism
Sara Diamond, from Roads to Dominion (1995)
Conservatism: Human Events, 45-47; Whittaker Chambers, 135-148
Ellen Schrecker, The Age of McCarthyism (main text + document chapters TBA)
IN-CLASS QUIZ AND WRITING ASSIGNMENT ON SCHRECKER BOOK
9/30 Race and the Right
“Declaration of Constitutional Principles” (Southern Manifesto), New York Times, 12 March 1956, pg. 19
William D. Workman, Jr., from The Case for the South (1960)
David L. Chappell, from A Stone of Hope (2004)
10/7 Building a Viable Movement
Conservatism: 169-170; William F. Buckley, 195-205; 207-210; Barry M. Goldwater, 211-225; Sharon Statement, 229-230
10/14 The Influence of Barry Goldwater
Conservatism: Phyllis Schlafly, 231-237
Lisa McGirr, from Suburban Warriors (2001)
10/21 Conservatism in Transition
Goldwater on Goldwater (in class)
10/28 Law, Order, and Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon, “What Has Happened to America?” (1967)
Dan T. Carter, from From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich (1999)
11/4 Issues of the 1970s: The New Right and the Tax Revolt
Richard M. Scammon and Benjamin J. Wattenberg, from The Real Majority (1970)
Jerome Himmelstein, from To the Right (1990)
Bruce J. Schulman, from The Seventies (2002)
11/11 Issues of the 1970s, II: The Christian Right and Gender
William Martin, from With God On Our Side, 191-220 (1996)
Donald Critchlow, “Conservatism Reconsidered: Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots
Scott Flipse, “Below-the-Belt-Politics: Protestant Evangelicals, Abortion, and the
Foundation of the New Religious Right, 1960-75” (2003)
11/18 The Reagan Revolution
Conservatism: 337-340; Ronald Reagan speeches, 341-361; and George Will, 362-372
11/25 Conservatism After Reagan
Conservatism: Stephen J. Tonsor, 373-378; Dan Hilmmelfarb, 383-393; 395-399; and Contract with America, 424-427
David Brock, “Living with the Clintons” (1994)
12/2 Popular Conservatism and Neoconservatism
Heilbrunn, They Knew They Were Right (Prologue and “Exodus”)
12/9 Conservatism in Crisis? Or Conservatism on the Comeback? (consideration of 2008 elections)
Heilbrunn, They Knew They Were Right (finish)
HEILBRUNN PAPER DUE
12/16 FINAL EXAM (Discussion of exam essays)
FINAL EXAM ESSAY DUE