The rise conservatism embodied in the candidacy of Ronald Reagan should be examined in light of events dating to the mid-1970s.
In the wake of the end of the Vietnam War, and with the domestic political turmoil still fresh from the war's divisiveness and from the Watergate scandal, the country was deeply split along ideological lines. Even within the Republican Party, conservatives were deeply divided between moderates and those further to the right. This division within the party was embodied in the 1976 nomination fight between President Gerald Ford, a noted moderate, and the more conservative figure of Ronald Reagan, a battle won by Ford.
The election of Jimmy Carter can be considered an impetus in the rise of conservatism that occurred during his presidency. Another factor was the growing military strength of the Soviet Union and the latter's increasing assertiveness in its conduct of foreign policy. President Carter's domestic and foreign policies were seen by many Americans as...
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