The Republican Right since 1945

The Republican Right since 1945

The Republican Right since 1945

The Republican Right since 1945

Excerpt

The Republican Right. Few terms in American political history have conjured up more meanings, more emotions, and more myths than this one. But more historical understanding is needed, now that a Right Wing Republican currently presides in the White House over perhaps the most important restructuring of American society since the New Deal.

This is not to imply that contemporaries failed to analyze or sought to ignore the Republican Right. How could they? In much of the post-New Deal period, hard-line Republicans commanded the Republican party in Congress, often enhancing their power by working with conservative southern Democrats. Also, GOP conservatives drew attention by bucking the trends of the era, and political observers constantly speculated about their motives -- benighted obscurantism? ideological or constitutional scruples? economic self- or class-interest? As for historians, much has been written on certain aspects of the Republican Right -- "McCarthyism,"foreign policy, and the presidential campaigns of 1948 and 1952 -- and there are several excellent biographies on Right Wing leaders during the period. But an adequate, full-scale treatment of the Republican Right in the post-World War II era has been conspicuously missing. This book attempts to fill that gap in American political history.

The major focus of this work is the period from 1945 through 1965. These twenty years represent a natural and tidy period. The year 1945 was crucial for all Americans. Roosevelt had died and World War II had come to an end. But for Right Wing Republicans that year was especially important. Republican conservatives now faced a national and international world wrought by Roosevelt, but without the intimidating presence of that popular figure. By 1965 Right Wing Republicans had confronted this post- Roosevelt world, the foreign policy demand of fighting the Cold War against the Soviet Union, as well as Eisenhower's "Modern Republicanism." And, finally, they had nominated their own GOP standard-bearer.

Beginning in 1945, the present work investigates the general doctrine of the Republican Right, and the Republican Right's successful and unsuccess-

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