chapter  4
15 Pages

The Prospects of Conservatism

WithRobert Nisbet, Brad Lowell Stone

Conservatives might have been forgiven, however, at the beginning of 1981 had visions of something far greater than a guerrilla force welled up in their minds; something more nearly akin to a conquering army of righteousness. In the United States jubilation was especially marked. 'Conservative' and 'conservatism' had never been especially popular in American political thought and writing. Unlike Britain which had a Conservative Party to offer ready sanction to conservative impulses, America had only its two major parties and an assortment of small, inconsequential parties of movements built around special interests. There was no more of a conservative climate for scholarship, philosophy and letters after the Civil War, when the forces of populism, frontier-radicalism and competition were dominant. By the early twentieth century in the US it was a rare conservative indeed who inhabited the halls of learning in the universities and colleges across the land.