During the 1960s, while the majority of Americans were contemplating the fortunes and misfortunes of liberalism, conservatives methodically, and somewhat surreptitiously, became a dominant force in national politics by gaining control of the Republican Party. Disorganized and divided in 1960, defeated spectacularly in 1964, the Right at first glance appeared to be as obsolete and ineffective as liberals claimed. Yet despite its seeming impotence, the Right evolved into a complex, organized, and effective political force that dominated the GOP by 1968 and eventually secured the election of a staunch conservative as president in 1980.
Beginning in the 1960s and continuing in the succeeding years, a one- dimensional view of the 1960s as a decade of radical movements drew the focus away from other important developments occurring during that time. Journalists and scholars, by spotlighting only the protesters, students, hippies, and demonstrators, ignored the action taking place at stage right and therefore presented a lopsided view of the decade. They spoke of political and social polarization but concentrated their attention and study