History of the Conservative Movement

Satisfactory Essays
History of the Conservative Movement

Many people argue that the conservative movement started with an article in the National Review on November 19, 1955. The name of the article was the "Publisher's Statement", written by William F. Buckley Jr., the magazine's editor-publisher. At the age of 30, Buckley declared, "let's face it: Unlike Vienna it seems altogether possible that did National Review not exist, no one would have invented it." During the first five years, the magazine's circulation hovered around 20,000. This would be the start of a new type of thinking, a newer, bolder more "conservative" type of thinking. This year, 1955, would start what would be called the conservative movement. The conservative movement has a vast history, an active present, and an expanding future.

The father of modern conservatism (although he never used the term "conservatism") was the British parliamentarian Edmund Burke. Burke's ideas developed as a result of his reaction to the French Revolution in 1789. In his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), Burke attacked the French activists for their preoccupation with theory and with ideas. In America Federalists were guided by conservative principles like those of Burke. American political movements did not finally divide into conservative and progressive factions until about the time of the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828. After World War II, the conservatives became strident opponents of international communism.

Like mentioned before, the Conservative movement in America started in 1955 with William F. Buckley's article in the National Review. The roots of conservatism formed from two completely different views of thinking. One, from the doctrines of classical liberalism, grounded in the British emphasis on political and economic freedom. The second derived from our Judaeo-Christian heritage itself. As the United States approaches the halfway point in the twentieth century, both views were out of style and the liberalist form of thinking was known for being assertive. When Russell Kirk published The Conservative Mind in 1953. The book touched base on the early views of Conservative thinking at the turn of the Century and how it was basically hated by almost everyone in the political spotlight. Kirk's book also gave several opinions that changed America's way of thinking and also influenced Buckley's opinions greatly. Kirk proclaimed that secretly, Conservatism single-handedly built the Western world in the early Christian centuries. If it could do that, why could the ideas of Conservatism not work in today's society?