Causes for the Reemergence of Conservative Movements
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Conservatism is a political philosophy in America famous for advocating respect for traditions, as well as support of the rule of law, Christianity, and Republicans. Its supporters also protect the traditional culture and the totalitarian movement (Gottfried 67). From the 1920s to the 1980s, conservatism kept reemerging due to a number of reasons.
The first reason relates to cultural challenges. The traditional culture faced huge criticism during these years. The movement fought to conserve the values that people had upheld for a long time. For instance, the role of women seemed to be changing, when many persons were advocating for equal rights to be provided to them. Thus, they fought for status quo, and their influence reemerged in the 1960s at the time when racial discrimination was opposed greatly. Though some members were racists, the group advocated for the equality of races. The movement also supported such groups as the National Indian Youth Council formed in 1961 to fight against racism (Norton 56).
Another reason relates to changes in social and moral values. This threat came from growing secularism. The movement sought to secure social norms by advocating Christianity and family values. It gained momentum during the 1980s when Reagan attained power. Thus, this movement started when its supporters had realized that their ideals and views on social issues had been violated (Norton 65).
The next reason relates to economic policies advocated by the government. Conservatism opposes them and advocates low taxes, free enterprise, and competitive capitalism. The movement claims that systems dominated by these policies are ahead economically in comparison to those, which are characterized by excessive government control. Based on these principles, the followers of conservatism played a role in enfrcing policies adopted during the Great Depression. The conservative movement was also felt in the 1950s when the need to overcome the spread of communist ideologies by fighting for the unity of ideals was stressed particularly. John Kennedy was also an anticommunist, and despite being from the Republicans, he gave the conservatism movement the power to continue with their policies. Moreover, its followers started a struggle for the idea of the welfare state. In the 1980s, the movement sponsored a conservative president, Ronald Reagan. During this period, they managed to propel the anti-communism ideologies, oppose some aspects of the New Deal, nativism, isolationism, and anti-Semitism. Reagan also ensured that conservatism policies would be enacted. For instance, he introduced tax cuts to promote businesses and promoted the idea of rejecting communism instead of spreading it, since the President thought it to be a threat to the growth of capitalism. Thus, the purpose of the reemergence of conservatism was to advocate issues, which were thought to be against the economic ideals people treasured (Gottfried 6).
The movement also reemerged in order to support their presidential candidates. In 1964, it became very popular in its bid to support Senator Barry Goldwater. Though he lost the elections, the movement had a huge impact on society. In 1974, its followers supported President Richard Nixon. They tried to influence people to accept his ideologies. Though he resigned, they managed to make a good number of persons accept their ideologies. However, conservatism became stronger thanks to clear strategies aimed to win the elections. Thus, in 1980 the movement facilitated the landslide of President Reagan in the elections. Conservatives gained a platform, through which they could articulate their ideas and feel that they were heard. During this period, the conservative ideals gained momentum to the point thatt the majority of people felt that it was a loss of many advances achieved that far (Gottfried 67).
The movement reemerged due to prevailing international issues at the time. The conservatives advocated a strong international policy, which was non-intervention. However, in the period between 1920 and1980, the country experienced many external influences, and the government had to make a firm decision on whether to participate in them or not. The first major occurrence was the Second World War. Franklin Roosevelt appealed to the Congress to levy war on China after it had attacked Pearl Harbor. It was contrary to the conservative policies, which advocate non-intervention. The cold war also brought about a variety of international issues. A threat made by the Soviets was real, and the U.S. had to take certain measures to guarantee security of its people and that of the world. President Harry Truman was particularly concerned about Soviet Union’s activities in Eastern Europe and decided to assist any country that would like to free itself from the dominance of Russians. Thus, the government found itself in the conflict with the conservatives due to interventions it had to undertake (Howison 65).
On the same note, the cause of the movement could be security concerns around this time. The conservatives advocate for a strong military. During the cold war, the Russians went ahead of the U.S. in relation to the latter at one point. Thus, the 1961 elections were characterized by efforts of each presidential candidate to create a strong military base (Norton 76).
In conclusion, the reemergence of conservatism movements was a result of many social, economic, political, security, and international issues. They either supported or contravened the ideals of communists. Thus, conservatism provided a direction to many divergent issues.