The Republican Party in 1969
THE REPUBLICAN party has almost always been the more conservative, in both the positional and ideational senses, of the two major national parties in the United States. But like its Democratic rival, the Republican party has never been ideologically monolithic.
Somewhat arbitrarily and impressionistically, I have categorized the elements that made up the Republican party in the 1960s into four major and more or less enduring political groups: stalwarts, fundamentalists, moderates, and progressives. Ideology entered into the formation of each of these groups, although each also rose out of shared regional and economic interests, personal and what may be called tribal loyalties, and agreements on political strategy. The groups had no formal structures, overlapped around their edges, and fluctuated through time in size and influence. Some party leaders moved without much sign of strain from one group to another as political interests or personal associations dictated. Nevertheless, this scheme of classification will provide a useful preliminary guide to the frequently heated intraparty differences that affected policy development through the Nixon and Ford administrations. 1
The stalwarts rose from the tradition of small-town, middle-class Protestant society that, through the Republican party, dominated American politics during the final third of the nineteenth century.