Bibliography of conservatism in the United States

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This is a bibliography of Conservatism in the United States.


  • Allitt, Patrick. The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History (2010) excerpt and text search
  • Critchlow, Donald T. The Conservative Ascendancy: How the Republican Right Rose to Power in Modern America (2nd ed. 2011)
  • Filler, Louis. Dictionary of American Conservatism (Philosophical Library, 1987)
  • Frohnen, Bruce et al. eds. American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia (2006) ISBN 1-932236-44-9, the most detailed reference
  • Schneider, Gregory. The Conservative Century: From Reaction to Revolution (2009)


  • Brinkley, Alan. "The Problem of American Conservatism," American Historical Review 99 (April 1994): 409–29.
  • Burns, Jennifer. "In Retrospect: George Nash's the Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945," Reviews in American History, Sep 2004, Vol. 32 Issue 3, pp. 447–62 in Project MUSE
  • Cowie, Jefferson, and Nick Salvatore, "The Long Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History," International Labor & Working-Class History, (2008) 74:3–32; argue the New Deal was a response to depression and did not mark a commitment to a welfare state because America has always been too individualistic
  • Dochuk, Darren. "Revival on the Right: Making Sense of the Conservative Moment in Post-World War II American History," History Compass (Sept 2006) 4#4 pp. 975–99, doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00341.x
  • Kazin, Michael. "The Grass-Roots Right: New Histories of U.S. Conservatism in the Twentieth Century," American Historical Review (February 1992) 97:136–55
  • Lewis, Hyman. "Historians and the Myth of American Conservatism" Journal of The Historical Society (2012), 12#1 pp. 27–45. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5923.2011.00354.x
  • McGirr, Lisa. "Now That Historians Know So Much about the Right, How Should We Best Approach the Study of Conservatism?" Journal of American History (2011) 98(3): 765–70 doi:10.1093/jahist/jar478
  • Moore, Leonard Joseph. "Good Old-Fashioned New Social History and the Twentieth-Century American Right," Reviews in American History (1996) 24#4 pp. 555–73 in Project MUSE
  • Phillips-Fein, Kim. "Conservatism: A State of the Field," Journal of American History (Dec 2011) 98#3 pp. 723–43, with commentary by Wilfred M. McClay, Alan Brinkley, Donald T. Critchlow, Martin Durham, Matthew D. Lassiter, and Lisa McGirr, and response by Phillips-Fein, pp. 744–73 online
  • Ponce de Leon, Charles L. "The New Historiography of the 1980s," Reviews in American History, (2008) 36#2 pp. 303–31, in Project MUSE
  • Ribuffo, Leo P. "Why is There so Much Conservatism in the United States and Why Do So Few Historians Know Anything about It," American Historical Review Vol. 99, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 438–49 in JSTOR
  • Ribuffo, Leo P. "The Discovery and Rediscovery of American Conservatism Broadly Conceived," OAH Magazine of History (2003) 17#2 pp. 5–10. doi:10.1093/maghis/17.2.5
  • Ribuffo, Leo. "Conservatism and American Politics," Journal of the Historical Society, March 2003, Vol. 3 Issue 2, pp. 163–75
  • Zelizer, Julian E. "Reflections: Rethinking the History of American Conservatism," Reviews in American History, 38#2 (June 2010), pp. 367–92 doi:10.1353/rah.0.0217

Intellectual history[edit]

  • de Forest, Jennifer. "Conservatism Goes to College: The Role of Philanthropic Foundations in the Rise of Conservative Student Networks," History of Higher Education Annual, 26 (2007), 103–27.
  • Dunn, Charles W. and J. David Woodard; The Conservative Tradition in America Rowman & Littlefield, 1996
  • Foner, Eric. "Radical Individualism in America: Revolution to Civil War," Literature of Liberty, vol. 1 no. 3, 1978 pp. 1–31 online
  • Genovese, Eugene. The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism (1994)
  • Gottfried, Paul. The Conservative Movement Twayne, 1993.
  • Guttman, Allan. The Conservative Tradition in America Oxford University Press, 1967.
  • Kendall, Willmoore, and George W. Carey. "Towards a Definition of 'Conservatism." Journal of Politics 26 (May 1964): 406–22. in JSTOR
  • Kirk, Russell. The Conservative Mind. Regnery Publishing; 7th edition (2001): ISBN 0-89526-171-5
  • Lee, Michael J. Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words that Made an American Movement (2014)
  • Langdale, John. Superfluous Southerners: Cultural Conservatism and the South, 1920–1990 (2012)
  • Lora, Ronald. Conservative Minds in America Greenwood, 1976.
  • Lora, Ronald. The Conservative Press in Twentieth-Century America Greenwood Press, 1999 online edition
  • Lora, Ronald, and William Henry Longton eds. The Conservative Press in Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century America (1999) online edition
  • Lowi, Theodore J. The End of the Republican Era (1995) online review
  • Lyons, Paul. American Conservatism: Thinking It, Teaching It. (Vanderbilt University Press, 2009). 202 pp. ISBN 978-0-8265-1626-8
  • Mergel, Sarah Katherine. Conservative Intellectuals and Richard Nixon: Rethinking the Rise of the Right (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); 248 pages; traces Nixon's relations with conservative intellectuals from 1968 to 1974, including those who saw him as a closet liberal.
  • Meyer, Frank S. ed. What Is Conservatism? (1964).
  • Murphy, Paul V. The Rebuke of History: The Southern Agrarians and American Conservative Thought (2001)
  • Nash, George. The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 (2006; 1st ed. 1978) influential history
  • Nau, Henry R. Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan (2013)
  • Nisbet, Robert A. Conservatism: Dream and Reality. University of Minnesota Press, 1986.
  • Rossiter, Clinton. Conservatism in America. 2nd ed. Harvard University Press, 1982.
  • Thorne, Melvin J. American Conservative Thought since World War II: The Core Ideas (1990) online edition
  • Viereck, Peter. Conservatism: from John Adams to Churchill (2nd ed. 1978)

Political activity[edit]

  • Aberbach, Joel D., and Gillian Peele, eds. Crisis of Conservatism?: The Republican Party, the Conservative Movement, and American Politics After Bush (2011) excerpt and text search
  • Critchlow, Donald T. When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Cunningham, Sean P. American Politics in the Postwar Sunbelt: Conservative Growth in a Battleground Region (Cambridge UP, 2014)
  • Cunningham, Sean P. Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right. (2010).
  • Hart, Jeffrey. The Making of the American Conservative Mind: The National Review and Its Times (2005)
  • Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order: 1964–1980 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution 1980–1989 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Kabaservice, Geoffrey. Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party (2012) scholarly history excerpt and text search
  • McDonald, Forrest. States' Rights and the Union: Imperium in Imperio, 1776–1876 (2002)
  • Malsberger, John W. From Obstruction to Moderation: The Transformation of Senate Conservatism, 1938–1952 (2000).
  • Nickerson, Michelle M. Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right (Princeton University Press, 2012), 248 pp.
  • Patterson, James. Congressional Conservatism and the New Deal: The Growth of the Conservative Coalition in Congress, 1933–39 (1967)
  • Perlstein, Rick. Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2004) on 1964
  • Perlstein, Rick (2008). Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-4302-5. 
  • Reinhard, David W. Republican Right since 1945 University Press of Kentucky, 1983 online edition
  • Ribuffo, Leo P. The Old Christian Right: The Protestant Far Right from the Great Depression to the Cold War (1983) online edition
  • Scanlon, Sandra, "The Conservative Lobby and Nixon's 'Peace with Honor' in Vietnam," Journal of American Studies 43 (Aug. 2009), 255–76.
  • Schweikart, Larry, and Michael Allen. A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror (2004), 930 pp. the most thorough textbook from an explicitly conservative viewpoint excerpt and text search
  • Shelley II, Mack C. The Permanent Majority: The Conservative Coalition in the United States Congress (1983)
  • Wilensky, Norman N. Conservatives in the Progressive Era: The Taft Republicans of 1912 (1965).


  • Bogus, Carl T. Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism (2011) excerpt and text search
  • Critchlow, Donald T. Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade (2005)
  • Crunden, Robert M. The Mind and Art of Albert Jay Nock (1964)
  • Dierenfield, Bruce J. Keeper of the Rules: Congressman Howard W. Smith of Virginia (1987), leader of the Conservative coalition in Congress
  • Fite, Gilbert. Richard B. Russell, Jr, Senator from Georgia (2002) leader of the Conservative coalition in Congress
  • Goldberg, Robert Alan. Barry Goldwater (1995)
  • Judis, John B. William F. Buckley, Jr.: Patron Saint of the Conservatives (1988) excerpt and text search
  • Kelly, Daniel. James Burnham and the Struggle for the World: A Life (2002)
  • Link, William A. (2008). Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-35600-5. 
  • Lurie, Jonathan, William Howard Taft: The Travails of a Progressive Conservative (2011) excerpt and text search
  • Patterson, James T. Mr. Republican: A Biography of Robert A. Taft (1972)
  • Rodgers, Marion Elizabeth. Mencken: The American Iconoclast (2005)
  • Federici , Michael P. Eric Voegelin: The Restoration of Order (2002)
  • Pemberton, William E. Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan (1998)
  • Smant, Kevin J. Principles and Heresies: Frank S. Meyer and the Shaping of the American Conservative Movement (2002) (ISBN 1-882926-72-2)
  • Smith, Richard Norton. An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover (1994) strongest on 1933–64
  • Tanenhaus, Sam. Whittaker Chambers: A Biography (1997) (ISBN 0-394-58559-3)
  • Chambers, Whittaker, Witness (1952), a memoir his Communist years; primary source

Recent politics[edit]

  • Bader, John B. Taking the Initiative: Leadership Agendas in Congress and the "Contract with America" (1996) online edition
  • Berkowitz, Peter. Varieties Of Conservatism In America (2004)
  • Collins, Robert M. Transforming America: Politics and Culture During the Reagan Years, (2007).
  • Ehrman, John. The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan (2008)
  • Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan, 1964–1980: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order (2001)
  • Hayward, Steven F. The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980–1989 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Himmelstein, Jerome and J. A. McRae Jr., "'Social Conservatism, New Republicans and the 1980 Election'", Public Opinion Quarterly, 48 (1984), 595–605.
  • Micklethwait, John, and Adrian Wooldridge. The Right Nation (2004) excerpt and text search, overview by British journalists
  • Geoffrey Nunberg, "Language and Politics"
  • Rae, Nicol C. Conservative Reformers: The Republican Freshmen and the Lessons of the 104th Congress (1998) online edition
  • Rasmussen, Scott, and Doug Schoen. Mad As Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System (2010) by two pollsters
  • Schoenwald; Jonathan. A Time for Choosing: The Rise of Modern American Conservatism (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Zernike, Kate. Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America (2010), by a New York Times reporter


  • Bessner, Daniel. "Murray Rothbard, political strategy, and the making of modern libertarianism." Intellectual History Review 24#4 (2014): 441–56.
  • Burns, Jennifer. Goddess of the market: Ayn Rand and the American right (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • Carey, George (2008). "Conservatism". In Hamowy, Ronald. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE; Cato Institute. pp. 93–95. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n61. 
  • Keckler, Charles, and Mark J. Rozell. "The Libertarian Right and the Religious Right." Perspectives on Political Science 44#.2 (2015): 92–99.
  • Sager, Ryan. The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party (Wiley, 2006)
  • Waldenmaier, Jacob Louis. "Mystique of the Intellectual: Heroes of Ayn Rand's Dystopias and Ron Paul's Revolution." Jefferson Journal of Science and Culture 3 (2013). online


  • Bloom, Allan. The Closing of the American Mind (1988) excerpt and text search
  • Fukuyama, Francis. America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy (2007)
  • Gerson, Mark. The Neoconservative Vision: From the Cold War to Culture Wars (1997)
  • Halper, Stefan & Clarke, Jonathan, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order (Cambridge University Press, 2004) ISBN 0-521-83834-7
  • Stelzer, Irwin. Neo-conservatism (2004)

Critical views[edit]

  • Bell, David. ed, The Radical Right. Doubleday 1963.
  • Diamond, Sara. Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States. (1995)
  • Huntington, Samuel P. "Conservatism as an Ideology." American Political Science Review 52 (June 1957): 454–73.
  • Koopman; Douglas L. Hostile Takeover: The House Republican Party, 1980–1995 Rowman & Littlefield, 1996
  • Lapham, Lewis H. "Tentacles of Rage" in Harper's, September 2004, pp. 31–41.
  • Coser Lewis A., and Irving Howe, eds. The New Conservatives: A Critique from the Left New American Library, 1976.
  • Martin, William. 1996. With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America, New York: Broadway Books.
  • Riebling, Mark, "Prospectus for a Critique of Conservative Reason."
  • Schulman, Bruce J. and Julian E. Zelizer, eds. Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s (2008)

Social science approaches[edit]

  • Aberbach, Joel D. "Understanding American Political Conservatism." in Robert A. Scott and Stephen M. Kosslyn, eds. Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Interdisciplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource (2015). doi:10.1002/9781118900772.etrds0373
  • Alexander, Gerard. "The Fog of Political War: Predicting the Future Course of Conservatism." Journal of Policy History (2014) 26#1 pp. 121–37. online analysis of projected demographic trends
  • Gross, Neil, Thomas Medvetz, and Rupert Russell. “The Contemporary American Conservative Movement.” Annual Review of Sociology (2011) 37 pp. 325–54 online doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-081309-150050
  • Perrin, Andrew J., J. Micah Roos, and Gordon W. Gauchat. "From Coalition to Constraint: Modes of Thought in Contemporary American Conservatism." Sociological Forum (2014) 29#2 pp. 285–300 doi:10.1111/socf.12084

Primary sources[edit]

  • Buckley, William F., Jr., ed. Up from Liberalism Stein and Day, (1958)
  • Buckley, William F., Jr., ed. Did You Ever See a Dream Walking? American Conservative Thought in the 20th Century Bobbs-Merrill, (1970)
  • Mark Gerson, ed., The Essential Neo-Conservative Reader (Perseus Publishing, (1997)) ISBN 0-201-15488-9
  • Irving Kristol, Neoconservatism: the Autobiography of an Idea, ISBN 0-02-874021-1
  • Gregory L. Schneider, ed. Conservatism in America Since 1930: A Reader (2003)
  • Irwin Stelzer ed. The NeoCon Reader (2005) ISBN 0-8021-4193-5
  • Wolfe, Gregory. Right Minds: A Sourcebook of American Conservative Thought. Regnery, (1987)