The Conservative Resurgence

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Describe the two sides of conservatism that contributed to the political thinking of the 1960s and 1970s.

One kind of conservative during the 1960s and 1970s was the libertarian type that supported shrinking the government and promoting unregulated capitalism and personal liberties. The other type was the social conservatives who wanted to push back against societal change and restore what they saw as American family values. Both were ardent anti-communists who opposed big government.

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In the 1960s and 1970s, two brands of conservatism arose in the United States. Sometimes they were diametrically opposed. Other times, they combined and worked together in a united conservative front.

The first of these are the conservatives who embraced free-market ideology and libertarianism. In the decades after World War II, many Americans felt that the support of free enterprise was a positive force in the country, and the government should take a laissez-faire approach concerning most economic matters. To them, individual autonomy and unregulated capitalism were the bedrock of American society. As a result, they promoted limited government is most arenas. They wanted to dismantle the many government regulations and programs that resulted from the New Deal and opposed similar reforms in their own time.

The other brand of conservatives were moral conservatives. They were gravely concerned at what they saw as the erosion of the fabric of American society. Throughout the 1960s and...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 812 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 13, 2020