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Barry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape

Edited by Elizabeth Tandy Shermer

Publication Year: 2013

Nearly four million Americans worked on Barry Goldwater’s behalf in the presidential election of 1964. These citizens were as dedicated to their cause as those who fought for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. Arguably, the conservative agenda that began with Goldwater has had effects on American politics and society as profound and far reaching as the liberalism of the 1960s. According to the essays in this volume, it’s high time for a reconsideration of Barry Goldwater’s legacy.
Since Goldwater’s death in 1998, politicians, pundits, and academics have been assessing his achievements and his shortcomings. The twelve essays in this volume thoroughly examine the life, times, and impact of “Mr. Conservative.” Scrutinizing the transformation of a Phoenix department store owner into a politician, de facto political philosopher, and five-time US senator, contributors highlight the importance of power, showcasing the relationship between the nascent conservative movement’s cadre of elite businessmen, newsmen, and intellectuals and their followers at the grassroots—or sagebrush—level.
Goldwater, who was born in the Arizona Territory in 1909, was deeply influenced by his Western upbringing. With his appearance on the national stage in 1964, he not only articulated a new brand of conservatism but gave a voice to many Americans who were not enamored with the social and political changes of the era. He may have lost the battle for the presidency, but he energized a coalition of journalists, publishers, women’s groups, and Southerners to band together in a movement that reshaped the nation.
Nearly four million Americans worked on Barry Goldwater’s behalf in the presidential election of 1964. These citizens were as dedicated to their cause as those who fought for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. Arguably, the conservative agenda that began with Goldwater has had effects on American politics and society as profound and far reaching as the liberalism of the 1960s. According to the essays in this volume, it’s high time for a reconsideration of Barry Goldwater’s legacy.
Since Goldwater’s death in 1998, politicians, pundits, and academics have been assessing his achievements and his shortcomings. The twelve essays in this volume thoroughly examine the life, times, and impact of “Mr. Conservative.” Scrutinizing the transformation of a Phoenix department store owner into a politician, de facto political philosopher, and five-time US senator, contributors highlight the importance of power, showcasing the relationship between the nascent conservative movement’s cadre of elite businessmen, newsmen, and intellectuals and their followers at the grassroots—or sagebrush—level.
Goldwater, who was born in the Arizona Territory in 1909, was deeply influenced by his Western upbringing. With his appearance on the national stage in 1964, he not only articulated a new brand of conservatism but gave a voice to many Americans who were not enamored with the social and political changes of the era. He may have lost the battle for the presidency, but he energized a coalition of journalists, publishers, women’s groups, and Southerners to band together in a movement that reshaped the nation.

Published by: University of Arizona Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

Senator Barry Goldwater remains one of the towering figures in the history of modern conservatism, the American West, and the United States. Although his policy positions shifted throughout the course of his long political career, his hostility to the welfare state and his stance on many social and cultural issues have caused pundits, politicians, and policymakers to continually invoke his name to defend a...

Part I. Goldwater’s Arizona and Arizona’s Goldwater

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1. The Conscience of a Conservationist: Barry Goldwater and the Colorado River

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pp. 19-42

On the evening of July 15, 1940, Barry Goldwater sat on a sandy beach beside the Colorado River. Contemplating the river running through canyons half a mile high, Goldwater wrote his thoughts on entering the river’s main stream that day. “One can sense the might of this river merely by looking at it, and even here, where it flows wide and smooth, one knows that this water is different from any...

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2. Drafting a Movement: Barry Goldwater and the Rebirth of the Arizona Republican Party

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pp. 43-65

Recent work on the modern conservative movement has, for the most part, focused largely on the racial and cultural politics of the 1960s and 1970s to explain the dramatic transformation of American politics. Frustrated homeowners, militant housewives, dogmatic anti- Communists, racist blue-collar workers, evangelical Christians, abortion opponents, and other crusaders in the dramatic culture wars...

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3. Southwestern Strategy: Mexican Americans and Republican Politics in the Arizona Borderlands

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pp. 66-84

contemporaries of and scholars of Barry Goldwater have often reflected on his western image and individualism. He has been described as both “the John the Baptist of the New Right” and a “synthesis of the Modern West.” But oft-told narratives of his and other Anglo southwesterners’ conservatism and movement building within state Republican parties have tended to isolate these conservatives from the dynamic, multicultural Southwest. Mexicans and...

Part II. The Goldwater Moment

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4. Getting to Goldwater: Robert A. Taft, William F. Knowland, and the Rightward Drift of the Republican Party

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pp. 87-113

Barry Goldwater did not just ride out of the Arizona desert in 1960 to challenge Richard Nixon for the Republican presidential nomination. He had already spent eight years bedeviling liberal Democrats and trade unionists from his Senate seat. But his first foray into national politics was also a part of a high-level conservative takeover of the national GOP fifteen years in the making. In July 1945 Thomas...

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5. The Dealers and the Darling: Conservative Media and the Candidacy of Barry Goldwater

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pp. 114-143

In February 1963 the United Auto Workers (UAW) put together an in-depth report on what they called “That Other Subversive Network,” the conservative movement. In a series of articles in the UAW newspaper Solidarity, the union blasted three conservative men who had emerged as political threats. The first, Roger Milliken, funneled millions of dollars into conservative organizations. The second, Clarence...

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6. Goldwater in Dixie: Race, Region, and the Rise of the Right

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pp. 144-169

On September 17, 1964, the Boeing 727 carrying Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater landed in brilliant sunlight at the airport in Greenville, South Carolina. Standing at the bottom of the steps as Goldwater exited the plane was Strom Thurmond, the Democratic senator from South Carolina and former Dixiecrat presidential candidate. The day before, Thurmond had issued a scalding denunciation...

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7. Goldwater’s “Moral Mothers”: Miscalculations of Gender in the 1964 Republican Presidential Campaign

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pp. 170-190

The Goldwater presidential campaign galloped out of the Re publican National Convention of 1964 triumphant, facing the November elections with the full force of a conservative movement at its back. The celebration was short-lived, however. By early September, poll numbers placed the GOP nominee woefully behind Goldwater’s opponent, President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Despite...

Part III. Beyond 1964 and Goldwater Conservatism

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8. Phoenix’s Cowboy Conservatives in Washington

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pp. 193-213

After the 1964 election, Barry Goldwater remained the fair-haired boy of many a conservative media mogul, and a hero to business-focused conservatives and voters wary of, if not outright hostile to, organized labor, federal oversight, and business taxation. His renown among these free-enterprise devotees served him and other Arizona Republicans well both before and after his presidential bid...

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9. Green Goldwater: Barry Goldwater, Federal Environmentalism, and the Transformation of Modern Conservatism

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pp. 214-237

By April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, the nation’s ecological problems were no longer the domain of resource managers, small conservation groups, and local activists—going green had gone mainstream. Even the penultimate chapter of Barry Goldwater’s third book, The Conscience of a Majority, published just after his return to the Senate in January 1969, gave a nod to the new status quo. Much of the book...

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10. Time Is an Elusive Companion: Jesse Helms, Barry Goldwater, and the Dynamic of Modern Conservatism

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pp. 238-258

In the 1970s, Americans witnessed an important political transformation— what historians describe as a rightward turn in national life— and this is a subject that historians in recent years have begun to explore in considerable detail. Much of the new literature on modern conservatism has stressed the grassroots nature of a wider social and political shift occurring during the 1960s and 1970s, and scholars have...

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Afterword: Barry Goldwater in History and Memory

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pp. 259-270

Tombstone, Arizona, deputy sheriff Wyatt Earp allegedly observed, “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.”1 For a long time, historians took their cue from Earp and prided themselves on their accuracy and hesitancy to quick-draw conclusions. More recently, however, historians have questioned not only their ability to be accurate about the past but even their own objectivity. To their research...

About the Contributors

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pp. 271-274

Index

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pp. 275-281


E-ISBN-13: 9780816599790
E-ISBN-10: 0816599793
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816521098
Print-ISBN-10: 0816521093

Page Count: 291
Publication Year: 2013

Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth