Landmark Speeches of the American Conservative Movement

Landmark Speeches of the American Conservative Movement

Landmark Speeches of the American Conservative Movement

Landmark Speeches of the American Conservative Movement


As Ronald Reagan declared, the conservative banner is one of bold, unmistakable colors, not "pastel shades." Since World War II, the American conservative movement has changed the colors of the national political landscape. Here, in its own words, is the body of thought and rhetoric that has painted the movement's banner.

Award-winning authors Peter Schweizer and Wynton C. Hall have gathered an authoritative collection of speeches representing the modern conservative movement. Beginning with Whittaker Chambers's 1948 testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee and continuing through the speeches of such conservative icons as Barry Goldwater, Bill Buckley, Phyllis Schlafly, Ronald Reagan, and Barbara Bush, the editors assemble an all-star line-up of conservative thought.

Newt Gingrich, champion of conservatism, said that, in this volume, "Peter Schweizer and Wynton Hall have captured the key moments in the emergence of modern conservatism." Steve Forbes also praised this work as a "timely, much-needed reminder of what the movement is truly about." Without a doubt, Landmark Speeches of the American Conservative Movement is a book that will interest anyone with a passion for politics, the spoken word, or history.

The thirteen speeches in this volume powerfully capture the principles, images, and causes that constitute modern American conservatism. Drawing on such thinkers as Russell Kirk and Richard M. Weaver, Schweizer and Hall vividly illustrate the ideas that have moved the conservative movement from the margins of society to the citadels of power.

An introduction to each speech explains the context in which it was first delivered and notes the impact of each statement on the movement and the nation.

The perfect gift for those who value conservatism or seek to understand it, Landmark Speeches of the American Conservative Movement offers food for thought and action. For historians, political scientists, and students of public communication, the book is an essential source for the ideas that have shaped American society since 1945.


What conservatives believe determines how they express their beliefs.

This is true for liberals as well, of course. Both conservatives and liberals want to persuade others. Since they are persuading to different ends, they use different kinds of rhetoric. in both content and form, conservative oratory is distinctive—distinctively rhetorical and characteristically argumentative. What sets it apart is this: pervasive in post–World War ii conservatism is an unyielding and vigorous antipathy for relativism in all its varied forms. As Ronald Reagan declared, the conservative banner is one of bold, unmistakable colors, not “pastel shades.” This collection of landmark speeches on the American conservative movement demonstrates the rhetorical character and ideological content of contemporary conservatism—an important document for an important force in the nation’s political landscape.

At its core, the American conservative movement holds a passion for Absolute Truth (in the classical sense), moral certitude, and an abiding belief in the inverse relationship between personal freedom and federal power: as the latter grows the former is diminished. These tendencies, in fact, are not tendencies at all. Rather, collectively, they represent a unifying current that rushes through each of the speeches contained in this, the first collection of landmark conservative speeches.

We have chosen speeches since 1945 for a simple reason. As George H. Nash wrote in his classic work The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, “In 1945 no articulate, coordinated, self-consciously conservative intellectual force existed in the United States. There were, at most, scattered voices of protest, profoundly pessimistic about the future of their country. Gradually during the first postwar decade these voices multiplied, acquired . . .

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