The Conservative Resurgence

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What are the reasons why new conservatism rose to prominence in the US between 1960–1989?

The rise of new conservatism was largely a result of libertarian and family-values ideals combining in the latter part of the twentieth century. This spurred on reactionary movements against greater government involvement under the Great Society and the counterculture and civil rights movements.

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The rise of new conservatism was partly an outgrowth of the libertarian movement that began in the 1950s. Supporters of this believed that unfettered capitalism and individual autonomy were at the very heart of American notions of liberty. They felt that the regulatory state that resulted from the New Deal was a threat to this. By the 1960s, many young conservatives were concerned about the growing nature of the federal government. The Great Society programs of President Johnson were seen as a continuation of the overreach of big government. This perceived threat led many to turn towards a more conservative viewpoint.

Race relations also led many to a shift towards conservatism. Under President Johnson, the Democrats became the party of promoting civil rights in the country. This led to segregationist white southerners abandoning the Democratic Party.

Much of new conservatism was a reactionary movement against the changing social norms of the time. Many Americans felt threatened by the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 977 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 13, 2020