American Conservatism Essay

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American Conservatism

Beginning with Nixon and continuing with Reagan after the radical changes of American culture in the sixties and seventies, Americans would begin to shift towards more conservative ideas unsure of the rapid radical change. In the 1994 mid term elections, the American people would elect a congress of mostly conservatives for the first time in nearly 50 years. At the core of this success would be the Contract with America. A set of promises and goals devised by conservative congressional representative Newt Gingrich. In 2000 the Republicans (modern conservative party) would retain the Congress and capture the White House. Conservatism has been a leading political ideology since the inception of the United States to
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Historian Russell Kirk believes there are six basic tenets of all conservatism. To begin conservatives believe "in a transcendent order or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience. Political problems at their roots are religious and or moral problems" (9). The ideal that religion and morality can have influence over political and social problems is widely seen in the United States. The Republicans are often the choice of people with conservative Christian ideology.

Another important tenet of conservatism is a respect for the proliferating variety of human existence, as opposed to the uniformity aims of most radical systems. "Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes" (Kirk 9). This is reflected in American conservatism belief that economic leveling in inherently wrong. In the belief that economic leveling is wrong, conservatives also believe strongly in protecting the rights of private property owners.

In addition, conservatives have a "recognition that changes may not be salutary reform." Belief that custom and convention are checks on radical change that could be harmful to society (Kirk 8). These tenets are seen in American conservatism. In the fact that American conservative parties have always been opposed to radical reform, such was the case when Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed and enacted sweeping government intervention in his "New Deal" legislation.

In order to better understand conservatism one must consider
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