Rockford Institute

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Rockford Institute
Named afterRockford College
Merged intoCharlemagne Institute
SuccessorCharlemagne Institute
Formation1976 (48 years ago) (1976)
FounderJohn A. Howard
Founded atRockford, IL
Dissolved2018 (6 years ago) (2018)
Legal status501(c)(3)
Purposecultural advocacy
Revenue: $467,026
Expenses: $1,148,857
(FYE June 2016)[1]

The Rockford Institute was an American conservative think-tank associated with paleoconservatism, based in Rockford, Illinois.[2] Founded in 1976, it ran the John Randolph Club[3] and published the magazine Chronicles. In 2018 the Rockford Institute merged with the Charlemagne Institute (renamed from Intellectual Takeout in 2018), which became the new publisher of Chronicles.[4] The Charlemagne Institute describes itself as "leading a cultural movement to defend and advance Western Civilization, the foundation of our American republic."[5]

Chronicles, the Rockford Institute, and since 2018 the Charlemagne Institute have been described as central to the paleoconservative intellectual movement.[6] Chronicles peaked in the 1990s[7] and helped shape the paleoconservative revival that accompanied Patrick Buchanan's 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns.[8] At its peak, it had 15,000 subscribers.[7] As of September 2016 there were 6,700 subscribers.[9]


The Rockford Institute was founded in 1976 by Rockford College president John A. Howard as a response to American social changes of the 1960s. Allan Carlson served as president until 1997. He and Howard left to found The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society which opposes abortion, divorce, and homosexuality, promoting instead the "child-rich, married parent" family,[10] an offshoot of the Rockford Institute.[2] It was located in Rockford, Illinois.

Thomas Fleming, editor of Chronicles, succeeded Carlson as president of the Rockford Institute. The institute also retained the Ingersoll Prize,[2] which the Rockford Institute had established in 1983 to honor conservative thinkers.[11] Fleming, a founding member of the League of the South, was described as a neo-Confederate by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).[12]

In 1988 the institute and Richard John Neuhaus, a Lutheran pastor, invited Cardinal Ratzinger to give a lecture in New York in January.[13] On 5 May 1989 Neuhaus and his Religion and Society Center were evicted from the institute's New York office after he complained about what he said were "the racist and anti-Semitic tones" of Chronicles.[2][14] The charge, which was supported by other leading conservatives, was denied by the institute.[15] They said the office, called Rockford East, was closed for budgetary reasons and because of concerns that Neuhaus was not following institute policies.[15] The split was seen by leading conservatives as a sign of the division between the paleoconservative and the neo-conservative elements of the movement.[16][17]

John Randolph Club[edit]

The John Randolph Club (1989–1995) was a project of the Rockford Institute to promote alliances between paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians.[18] The club has been described as neo-Confederate, promoting secession, and favoring white Southerners.[19] Founding members included the radical libertarian Murray Rothbard, Jared Taylor of the white nationalist journal American Renaissance, the white nationalist Peter Brimelow, the writer Samuel Francis, and the journalist and politician Pat Buchanan.[19] It was named for John Randolph (described by the historian Quinn Slobodian as "a slaveholder whose catchphrase was 'I love liberty, I hate equality'").[19] Chronicles promoted the club's activities.[18]

Merger and renaming[edit]

In 2018 the Rockford Institute merged with the Charlemagne Institute (renamed from Intellectual Takeout in 2018), which became the new publisher of Chronicles.[4] As of 2021 Devin C. Foley is listed as the Charlemagne Institute's chief executive officer.[20]

Chronicles magazine[edit]

Chronicles is a U.S. monthly magazine published by the Rockford Institute. Its full current name is Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. The magazine is known for promoting anti-globalism, anti-intervention, and anti-immigration stances within conservative politics, and is considered one of the leading paleoconservative publications.[21][22][third-party source needed]

As of 2017, the executive editor was Aaron D. Wolf[23] and, as of 2012, Srđa Trifković was editor for foreign affairs.[24] Contributors over the years have included the conservative activist Peter Gemma.[25][better source needed] As of 2021, its website names Paul Gottfried as its Interim Editor-in-Chief and Edmund Welsch as Executive Editor, and was hosted by (and listed as a programme of) the Charlemagne Institute.[26][20]

In 2000, James Warren of The Chicago Tribune called Chronicles "right-leaning" and wrote, "There are few publications more cerebral". He described a Chronicles article criticizing the finances of Donald Trump, who was then considering a Reform Party presidential campaign.[27]

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) described Chronicles in 2017 as "a publication with strong neo-Confederate ties that caters to the more intellectual wing of the white nationalist movement",[28] and in another article said it was "controversial even among conservatives for its racism and anti-Semitism".[29]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Rockford Institute" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Duin, Julia (10 December 1997). "Rockford Institute chief leaves to form his own think tank". Washington Times. p. A.2.(subscription required)
  3. ^ Heidi Beirich; Mark Potok (Winter 2003). "Paleoconservatives' Decry Immigration". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Mission and Vision – History". Charlemagne Institute. Bloomington, Minnesota. Retrieved 16 April 2023.
  5. ^ "Charlemagne Institute | Defending & Advancing Western Civilization". Charlemagne Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  6. ^ Bar-On, Tamir; Molas, Bàrbara, eds. (2022). The right and radical right in the Americas: ideological currents from interwar Canada to contemporary Chile. Lanham Boulder New York London: Lexington Books. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-7936-3583-9.
  7. ^ a b E. Christian Kopff. Chronicles. First Principles. 3 September 2010.
  8. ^ Blumenthal, Max (25 May 2011) [2006-09-20]. "Sen. John Cornyn Meets the Racist Right". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  9. ^ Chronicles, Statement of Ownership, November, 2016, p. 7
  10. ^ Columbius, Angela (18 January 2012). "Corbett aide who edited journal quits". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. A4. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  11. ^ Suplee, Curt (29 August 1984). "Powell, Kirk Win Ingersoll Prizes". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  12. ^ Piggott, Stephen (26 January 2016). ""Mainstream" Conservatives With Large Audiences Promote White Nationalists". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  14. ^ "Father Richard Neuhaus; Vocal US Lutheran pastor and civil rights activist who became a leading Catholic conservative commentator". The Times. London (UK). 16 January 2009. p. 75.
  15. ^ a b BERNSTEIN, RICHARD (16 May 1989). "Magazine Dispute Reflects Rift on U.S. Right". New York Times. p. A.1.
  16. ^ Frum, David (2 June 1989). "Cultural Clash on the Right". Wall Street Journal. p. 1.
  17. ^ Tabachnick, Rachel; Cocozzelli, Frank L. (Fall 2013). "Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the Old Right". Public Eye: 2–8.
  18. ^ a b Slobodian, Quinn. "Anti-'68ers and the Racist-Libertarian Alliance: How a Schism among Austrian School Neoliberals Helped Spawn the Alt Right". Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  19. ^ a b c Slobodian, Quinn (2023). Crack-up capitalism: market radicals and the dream of a world without democracy (First ed.). New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 978-1-250-75390-8.
  20. ^ a b "Who We Are – About". Charlemagne Institute. 28 February 2021. Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  21. ^ PaleoConservatives: New Voices of the Old Right, by Joseph Scotchie, pgs. 1 – 75.
  22. ^ Francis, Samuel (16 December 2002). "The Paleo Persuasion". The American Conservative. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012.
  23. ^ "Chronicles", June 2017, p. 3
  24. ^ Chronicles, September 2012, p. 4.
  25. ^ "The Council for National Policy: Selected Member Biographies, Peter B. Gemma, Jr". Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  26. ^ a b "About Us – About". Chronicles. 6 May 2021. Archived from the original on 6 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  27. ^ James Warren. "Chronicles Trumps Donald's Aspirations", The Chicago Tribune, 25 February 2000. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  28. ^ "Meet Jessica Vaughan, the anti-immigrant movement's representative at tomorrow's Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on DACA". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  29. ^ "Garrett Hardin". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  30. ^ Obituary (22 March 1985). "Leopold Tyrmand, 64, Editor Who Emigrated From Poland". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2015.

External links[edit]