In 1964 a fairly unknown person named Ronald Reagan gave a speech for Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign, the author of a popular book named The Conscience of a Conservative which explained the modern conservative theory. Barry Goldwater would go on to lose that race but just two years later Ronald Reagan would begin his term as Governor of California and by the 1980’s Reagan would be the leader of the conservative movement. During the 50’s and 60’s the cold war raged on, the economy was suffering, and people were unhappy and grew restless with the way things were. Opposition to “big government” grew and so did anti-communism. During the 70’s this displeasure with the ongoing economic crisis and the discontent with “big government” combined with the frustration of Americas foreign policy of détente reached its peak, aiding the growth of the conservative movement.
Détente is the easing of tense relationships and it particularly applies to political situations. Most commonly détente is a term used to describe the easing of relationships between the Soviet Union and the United States during the 70’s. This essentially meant the changing of strategies on how we dealt with the Soviet Union from an aggressive approach to one of containment. The Vietnam War and our actions in Latin America are prime examples of détente. We would not enter into direct conflict with the Soviet Union but we tried to prevent the spread of leftist governments. Soon the American public grew weary of these practices which lead to many prominent liberal intellectuals such as Leo Strauss to move to the right and join the conservative movement. Their disapproval of détente soon led to many more liberals following in their steps. The growth of this movement within the Republican Party also attracted many White conservative Southern democrats. In fact starting in 1968 the GOP dominated most presidential elections in the south.
Not only was this...