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Race and the Making of American Liberalism$
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Carol A. Horton

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195143485

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143485.001.0001

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The Conservative Movement

The Conservative Movement

(p.191) 8 The Conservative Movement
Race and the Making of American Liberalism

Carol A. Horton

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the development of the contemporary conservative movement from the late 1960s through the 1980s. In the 1970s, neoconservatism played a particularly important role in fashioning a new brand of racial conservatism with a powerful cultural resonance. Framed in the liberal language of non-discrimination and equal rights, this position denounced race-conscious policies and equalitarian politics more broadly as politically illegitimate and socially destructive. During the same period, veteran conservative activists regrouped to organize the New Right, which combined a powerful appeal to the intertwined racial and class identities of working-class whites with innovative and effective techniques of political organizing. Together, the neoconservatives and the New Right laid the foundations for a new conservative political establishment with the organizational muscle to systematically market conservative ideas, engineer a conservative takeover of the Republican Party, leverage a more conservative federal judiciary, and mobilize grassroots support for conservative causes. While encompassing a wide range of issues, a central—and ultimately successful—goal of the movement was to banish socioeconomic equity issues from the forum of legitimate political discussion.

Keywords:   Republican Party, conservative movement, neoconservatism, racial conservatism, New Right, equal rights, non-discrimination, socioeconomic equity, judiciary

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