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All the president's conservatives : Richard Nixon and the American conservative movement.

Rodríguez, David Sarias (2011) All the president's conservatives : Richard Nixon and the American conservative movement. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This doctoral dissertation examines the relationship between the American conservative movement and Richard Nixon between the late 1940s and the Watergate scandal, with a particular emphasis on the latter's presidency. It complements the sizeable bodies of literature about both Nixon himself and American conservatism, shedding new light on the former's role in the collapse of the post-l945 liberal consensus. This thesis emphasises the part played by Nixon in the slow march of American conservatism from the political margins in the immediate post-war years to the centre of national politics by the late 1960s. The American conservative movement is treated as a diverse epistemic community made up of six distinct sub-groupings - National Review' conservatives, Southern conservatives, classical liberals, neoconservatives, American Enterprise Institute conservatives and the 'Young Turks' of the New Right - which, although philosophically and behaviourally autonomous, remained intimately associated under the overall leadership of the intellectuals who operated from the National Review. Although for nearly three decades Richard Nixon and American conservatives endured each other in a mutually frustrating and yet seemingly unbreakable relationship, Nixon never became a fully-fledged member of the movement. Yet, from the days of Alger Hiss to those of the 'Silent Majority', he remained the political actor best able to articulate and manipulate the conservative canon into a populist, electorally successful message. During his presidency, the administration's behaviour played a crucial role - even if not always deliberately - in the momentous transformation of the conservative movement into a more diverse, better-organised, modernised and more efficient political force. In the process, conservatives consciously and successfully used Nixon in their quest to gain acceptance as the legitimate sparring partners of the liberalism that had hitherto dominated post-1945 American politics. This doctoral dissertation examines the relationship between the American conservative movement and Richard Nixon between the late 1940s and the Watergate scandal, with a particular emphasis on the latter's presidency. It complements the sizeable bodies of literature about both Nixon himself and American conservatism, shedding new light on the former's role in the collapse of the post-l945 liberal consensus. This thesis emphasises the part played by Nixon in the slow march of American conservatism from the political margins in the immediate post-war years to the centre of national politics by the late 1960s. The American conservative movement is treated as a diverse epistemic community made up of six distinct sub-groupings - National Review' conservatives, Southern conservatives, classical liberals, neoconservatives, American Enterprise Institute conservatives and the 'Young Turks' of the New Right - which, although philosophically and behaviourally autonomous, remained intimately associated under the overall leadership of the intellectuals who operated from the National Review. Although for nearly three decades Richard Nixon and American conservatives endured each other in a mutually frustrating and yet seemingly unbreakable relationship, Nixon never became a fully-fledged member of the movement. Yet, from the days of Alger Hiss to those of the 'Silent Majority', he remained the political actor best able to articulate and manipulate the conservative canon into a populist, electorally successful message. During his presidency, the administration's behaviour played a crucial role - even if not always deliberately - in the momentous transfonnation of the conservative movement into a more diverse, better-organised, modernised and more efficient political force. In the process, conservatives consciously and successfully used Nixon in their quest to gain acceptance as the legitimate sparring partners of the liberalism that had hitherto dominated post-1945 American politics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.557122
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2016 13:55
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2016 13:55
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14658

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