The Conservative Movement

Course Outline

1.  Course Number and Title: Govt108, History of the Conservative Movement

            Prerequisites: None

            Credits: Non-credit

2.  Course Description:   

American politics has often been driven by “movements.” One observer of the American conservative movement, Morton Blackwell, founder of The Leadership Institute, has observed that today’s conservatism has three legs: the right to life, right to work, and the right to keep and bear arms. The three organizations dedicated to those causes were founded in 1871, 1955 and 1968. Individually they did not make the conservative movement, and collectively they are only part of the story about how the conservative “movement” came into existence. This course tells that story.

3. Course Goals: Govt108 will examine how a vibrant modern conservative movement came to become a political force in the United States.

4. Assigned  Reading

            John T. Flynn   The Roosevelt Myth (free online at  

            Lee Edwards, A Brief History of the Modern American Conservative Movement. (The Heritage Foundation, 2004). ISBN-13: 978-0891951292. $6.07.

            Kindle: $5.77.

            Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition. (University of Chicago Press, 2007). ISBN-13: 978-0226320557. $10.85

            Kindle. $9.99

            Whitaker Chambers, Witness. (Regnery History; Reprint edition,  2014). ISBN-13: 978-1621572961. $16.07.  Kindle: $9.99.

5. Course Topics

            a. Recovery from Woodrow Wilson–Harding and Coolidge

            b.. America First

            c. Formation of a movement: Opposition to the New Deal  Westbrook Pegler, John T. Flynn, Walter Trohan, John O’Donnell, Lyle Wilson  

            d. Sen. Robert Taft (1940-1952)

            e. World-War II:and After

                        Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)

                        Human Events (1944)

                        National Review (1955)

            f. Communist infiltration of American government–Sen. Joe McCarthy

            g. Conservatism in the 1960s: Goldwater, Weaver, Kirk, Chambers 

            hCollectivism in Full Force:

                        LBJ War on Poverty

                        Conservatives Respond to The Great Society

                        Heritage Foundation

                        Miller Center

            i. Ronald Reagan (lecture by Reagan biographer Craig Shirley)

            j. After Reagan–Bush & “W” Administration failures; Tea Party response