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Countercultural Conservatives

American Evangelicalism from the Postwar Revival to the New Christian Right

Axel R. Schäfer

Publication Year: 2011

In the mid-twentieth century, far more evangelicals supported such “liberal” causes as peace, social justice, and environmental protection. Only gradually did the conservative evangelical faction win dominance, allying with the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan and, eventually, George W. Bush.
    In Countercultural Conservatives Axel Schäfer traces the evolution of a diffuse and pluralistic movement into the political force of the New Christian Right. In forging its complex theological and political identity, evangelicalism did not simply reject the ideas of 1960s counterculture, Schäfer argues. For all their strict Biblicism and uncompromising morality, evangelicals absorbed and extended key aspects of the countercultural worldview.
    Carefully examining evangelicalism’s internal dynamics, fissures, and coalitions, this book offers an intriguing reinterpretation of the most important development in American religion and politics since World War II.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. ix-xi

The nineteenth-century German historian Leopold von Ranke’s famous dictum for the historian to write wie es eigentlich gewesen [ist ] is commonly translated as “what actually happened.” Far from simply being an admonition not to go . . .

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Introduction: Beyond the “Backlash”

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pp. 3-14

The notion that religious orthodoxy feeds naturally into socioeconomic and political conservatism is arguably one of the most widespread and rarely questioned assumptions among observers of resurgent evangelicalism in . . .

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1. The Enigma of Conservative Protestantism

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pp. 15-41

The dramatic resurgence of white evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity in the United States since the 1940s has left a generation of academics scrambling for explanations. Subscribing to an Enlightenment . . .

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2. The Postwar Neo-Evangelical Awakening

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pp. 42-68

In their desire to reaffirm orthodox Protestantism as a significant cultural and political force in modern American society, a cadre of “progressive fundamentalists” ( Joel Carpenter) or “post-fundamentalist evangelicals” . . .

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3. The Evangelical Left and the 1960s

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pp. 69-110

If the 1940s and 1950s provided ample opportunities for the institutional and theological assertion of conservative Protestantism, the insurgent movements of the 1960s and 1970s challenged neo-evangelicals to add a social and cultural . . .

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4. The Rise of the Christian Right

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pp. 111-150

Observers in the mid-1970s could hardly be faulted for thinking that a type of liberal or at least middle-of-the road evangelicalism, rather than a vociferous and militant Christian Right, had emerged triumphant. Merging . . .

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Conclusion: New Perspectives on American Evangelicalism

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pp. 151-159

The partisan mobilization of conservative Protestants constitutes one of the most remarkable political developments since World War II and the clearest case of political realignment during the past forty . . .


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pp. 161-191


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pp. 193-212


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pp. 213-225

E-ISBN-13: 9780299285234
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299285241

Page Count: 225
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 779881516
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Countercultural Conservatives

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Subject Headings

  • Evangelicalism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Christian conservatism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Christianity and politics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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