M. Stanton Evans

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Medford Stanton Evans
Born Medford Stanton Evans
(1934-07-20)July 20, 1934
Kingsville, Texas, USA
Died March 3, 2015(2015-03-03) (aged 80)
Leesburg, Loudoun County
Occupation Writer
Language English
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater Yale University
Period 1951–2015
Genre Nonfiction
Subject Politics, History
Literary movement Conservative
Notable works Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies
Notable awards Honorary doctorates: Syracuse University, John Marshall Law School, Grove City College, Francisco Marroquín University; two Freedom Foundation awards: editorial writing; National Headliners Club Award: “consistently outstanding editorial pages”; William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence (Media Research Center); Reed Irvine award for excellence in journalism (Accuracy in Media); Barbara Olson Award for Excellence & Independence in Journalism (American Spectator); John M. Ashbrook Award (Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs); Regnery Award for Distinguished Institutional Service (Intercollegiate Studies Institute); four George Washington medals (Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania)
Spouse Sue Ellen Moore (married 1962–1974, divorced)
Children No children

Medford Stanton Evans, known as M. Stanton Evans (July 20, 1934 – March 3, 2015), was an American journalist, author and educator. He was the author of eight books, including Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies (2007). [1]

Early life and education[edit]

Evans was born in Kingsville in Kleberg County in South Texas, the son of Medford Bryan Evans, an author, college professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and official of the United States Atomic Energy Commission,[2] and the classics scholar Josephine Stanton Evans.[3] He grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.[2]

Evans graduated in 1955 magna cum laude from Yale University, Phi Beta Kappa,[4] with a Bachelor of Arts in English, followed by graduate work in Economics at New York University under Ludwig von Mises.[5]


As an undergraduate, Evans was an editor for the Yale Daily News.[6] It was at Yale that he read One Is a Crowd by Frank Chodorov. In The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, George H. Nash writes:

It was the first libertarian book he [Evans] had ever read, and [he said] it 'opened up more intellectual perspectives to me than did the whole Yale curriculum.' Evans came to believe that Chodorov 'probably had more to do with the conscious shaping of my political philosophy than any other person'.[7]

Upon graduation, Evans became assistant editor of The Freeman, where Chodorov was editor.[8] The following year, he joined the staff of William F. Buckley's fledgling National Review (where he served as associate editor from 1960 to 1973),[9] and became managing editor of Human Events, where he remained a contributing editor until his death.[10]

Evans became a proponent of National Review co-editor Frank Meyer's "fusionism", a political philosophy reconciling the traditionalist and libertarian tendencies of the conservative movement.[11] He argued that freedom and virtue are not antagonistic, but complementary:

The idea that there is some sort of huge conflict between religious values and liberty is a misstatement of the whole problem. The two are inseparable. ... [I]f there are no moral axioms, why should there be any freedom?[12]

The conservative believes that ours is a God-centered, and therefore an ordered, universe; that man’s purpose is to shape his life to the patterns of order proceeding from the Divine center of life; and that, in seeking this objective, man is hampered by a fallible intellect and vagrant will. Properly construed, this view is not only compatible with a due regard for human freedom, but demands it.[13]

In 1959, Evans became head editorial writer of The Indianapolis News,[9] rising to editor the following year—at 26, the nation's youngest editor of a metropolitan daily newspaper[4]—a position he held until 1974.[9] In 1971, Evans became a commentator for the CBS Television and Radio Networks, and in 1980 became a commentator for National Public Radio, the Voice of America, Radio America and WGMS in Washington, D.C.[14]

In 1974, he became a nationally syndicated columnist for The Los Angeles Times syndicate.[9] Barry Goldwater wrote that Evans "writes with the strength and conviction and authority of experience."[15] In a 1975 radio address, Ronald Reagan cited Evans as "a very fine journalist."[16] In 1977, he founded the National Journalism Center, where he served as director until 2002. In 1980, he became an adjunct professor of journalism at Troy University in Troy, Alabama,[17] where he held the Buchanan Chair of Journalism.[18]

From 1981–2002, he was publisher of Consumers' Research magazine. Evans expressed his journalistic philosophy as follows:

I don't think that the way to correct a spin from the left is to try to impart a spin from the right. ... [A]n information flow distorted from the right would be just as much a disservice as distortion from the left. What we really should be after ... is accurate information. And I don't see what any conservative or anybody else for that matter has to fear from accurate information.[19]

Political activism[edit]

Evans was present at Great Elm, the family home of William F. Buckley in Sharon, Connecticut, at the founding of Young Americans for Freedom,[20] where, on September 11, 1960, he drafted YAF's charter, the Sharon Statement.[21] Some conservatives still revere this document as a concise statement of their principles.[22]

From 1971 to 1977, Evans served as chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU).[23] He was one of the first conservatives to denounce U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, just a year into his first term, co-writing a January 1970 ACU report condemning his record. Under Evans' leadership, the ACU issued a July 1971 statement concluding, “the American Conservative Union has resolved to suspend our support of the Administration.” Evans often joked that he "never liked Nixon until Watergate."[24]

In June 1975, the ACU called upon former Governor Ronald Reagan of California to challenge incumbent Gerald R. Ford, Jr., for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination.[25] In June 1982, Evans and others met with President Reagan,[26] warning him about White House staff who thought they could make a deal with the Democratic Congress. (Reagan subsequently made such a deal, in which for each $1 in higher taxes Congress promised $3 in spending cuts; Reagan delivered the tax hike, but Congress reneged, actually increasing spending.)[27]

In 1974, upon leaving the since defunct The Indianapolis News after fifteen years, he taught journalism at Troy University in Troy, Alabama for more than thirty years. From 1977 to 2002 he led the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., which was established with financial help from the conservative movement.[1] He founded the Education and Research Institute. He served as president of the Philadelphia Society,[28] a member of the Council for National Policy, the advisory board of Young Americans for Freedom, and a trustee of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI),[29] and is a member of the Board of Advisers of the National Tax Limitation Committee. Evans has also been an effective plaintiff in numerous Federal Court cases involving the First Amendment issue of "freedom of information."[30]


Evans was awarded honorary doctorates from Syracuse University, John Marshall Law School, Grove City College and Francisco Marroquín University.[31] He is a past winner of two Freedom Foundation awards for editorial writing and the National Headliners Club Award for “consistently outstanding editorial pages.”[32] Evans was also awarded the Heartland Institute's Heartland Freedom Prize,[33] the Media Research Center's William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence,[34] Accuracy in Media's Reed Irvine award for excellence in journalism,[35] the American Spectators Barbara Olson Award for Excellence & Independence in Journalism,[36] the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs' John M. Ashbrook Award,[37] the ISI's Regnery Award for Distinguished Institutional Service[38] and four Freedoms Foundation George Washington medals.[39] Troy University's Hall School of Journalism hosts an annual M. Stanton Evans symposium named in his honor, as is the M. Stanton Evans Alumni Award.[40]

Becky Norton Dunlop, an official of the Heritage Foundation, said that Evans had a sense of humor that

just naturally made people laugh. He had a way of making everyone in his presence pay attention to what he was saying just by the way he said it. And while your sides were splitting with laughter, you were thinking about what he was saying. He also imparted a love for great books and introduced many a young conservative to works that had somehow not made it into their college curriculum. His great book, The Theme is Freedom should be on the shelf of every person who loves freedom. Many of today’s conservative leaders owe much to the lessons, the leadership, the energy and, yes, the humor of M. Stanton Evans. ...[41]



  1. ^ a b Adam Clymer (March 4, 2015). "M. Stanton Evans, Who Helped Shape Conservative Movement, Is Dead at 80". The New York Times. p. A20. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b The Theme is Freedom: Religion, Politics, and the American Tradition by M. Stanton Evans, Booknotes, C-SPAN, February 5, 1995
  3. ^ "Josephine Evans, 97, former teacher," The Washington Times, June 3, 2005; cf. James B. Lloyd, ed., Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817–1967 (University Press of Mississippi, 2009) ISBN 1-60473-411-6, pp. 157–158
  4. ^ a b "End of a Search", Time October 10, 1960
  5. ^ M. Stanton Evans, "Government Can Be Hazardous to Your Health (June 1975)", hillsdale.edu; accessed March 3, 2015.
  6. ^ Banner and Pot Pourri Yearbook – Class of 1954, Yale University, 1954, p. 132 (e-yearbook.com)
  7. ^ George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, ISI Books, 2006, p. 39; ISBN 1-933859-12-1
  8. ^ Archive for Frank Chodorov, The Freeman
  9. ^ a b c d Sam G. Riley, Biographical Dictionary of American Newspaper Columnists (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995), p. 84; ISBN 0-313-29192-6
  10. ^ M. Stanton Evans profile, humanevents.com; accessed March 3, 2015.
  11. ^ William F. Meehan, III, Stanton profile, firstprinciplesjournal.com, April 17, 2008; accessed March 3, 2015.
  12. ^ Gregory L. Schneider, Cadres for conservatism: young Americans for freedom and the rise of the contemporary right (NYU Press, 1999), p. 35; ISBN 0-8147-8108-X
  13. ^ L. Brent Bozell, "Freedom or Virtue?", Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative/Libertarian Debate, George Wescott Carey, ed. (Wilmington, Del: ISI Books, 1998), p. 22
  14. ^ Eugene G. Schwartz, American Students Organize: Founding the National Student Association after World War II: An Anthology and Sourcebook (American Council on Educators/Praeger Publishers, 2006), p. 804; ISBN 0-275-99100-8
  15. ^ Fulton Lewis, Jr., "Washington Report", Reading Eagle, November 17, 1961, p. 10
  16. ^ Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson (eds), Reagan, in His Own Hand (Simon and Schuster, 2001), p. 364; ISBN 0-7432-1938-4
  17. ^ Troy University Journalism Symposium named in honor of M. Stanton Evans, troy.edu; accessed March 3, 2015.
  18. ^ Professor M. Stanton Evans profile, jschool.troy.edu; accessed March 3, 2015.
  19. ^ M. Stanton Evans, “Can Conservatives Change the Media?” Heritage Foundation Resource Bank lecture, August 7, 1990.
  20. ^ M. Stanton Evans profile, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, isi.org; accessed March 3, 2015.
  21. ^ Rebecca E. Klatch, A generation divided: the new left, the new right, and the 1960s (University of California Press, 1999) ISBN 0-520-21714-4, p. 21
  22. ^ "The Sharon Statement would last as the late 20th century's single most elegant distillation of conservative principles." (K.E. Grubbs, Jr., "The Magnificent Legacy of the YAF," Investors Business Daily, September 9, 2010); "This statement of principles denies the basic premises of Progressivism and liberalism...the concerns for liberty remain the same over the centuries.," The Sharon Statement, The Heritage Foundation.
  23. ^ Statement of Principles: The Sharon Statement, American Conservative Union
  24. ^ James C. Roberts, "CPAC Over 30 Years: Conservatives Have Come a Long Way," Human Events, February 3, 2003. Evans recycled this bit of what Roberts called his "droll, contrarian humor" at another conference two years later, when he objected to a co-panelist, self-proclaimed "unabashed ideological liberal" Rick Perlstein, characterizing Nixon as a "conservative," quipping: "I was never for Nixon until Watergate." Perlstein apparently didn't get the joke (Rick Perlstein, "'I Didn't Like Nixon Until Watergate': The Conservative Movement Now," Huffington Post, December 5, 2005), but the audience laughed. (Video: Barry Goldwater and the Modern Conservative Movement, "The Conservative Movement: Its Past, Present, and Future," The Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, Princeton University, December 2, 2005, 9:00 a.m. "Unabashed ideological liberal" at 28:05; laughter at 42:26) (56K)
  25. ^ Our History, conservative.org; accessed March 3, 2015.
  26. ^ Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson (eds), Reagan: A Life in Letters (Simon and Schuster, 2004), p. 595; ISBN 0-7432-7642-6
  27. ^ Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: An American Life (Simon and Schuster, 1990); ISBN 0-671-69198-8, p. 314. Cf. Steven F. Hayward, The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution, 1980–1989 (Random House, Inc., 2009) ISBN 1-4000-5357-9, pp. 210-212
  28. ^ "Presidents of The Philadelphia Society". Phillysoc.org. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  29. ^ William F. Meehan, III, Evans profile, firstprinciplesjournal.com, April 17, 2008.
  30. ^ Profile, limittaxes.com; accessed March 3, 2015.
  31. ^ M. Stanton Evans, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies (Random House, Inc., 2007); ISBN 1-4000-8105-X, "About the Author" (back cover)
  32. ^ "Fact Finders to Hear Young Editor, Today," Palm Beach Daily News, May 4, 1962, p. 5
  33. ^ "M. Stanton Evans to be honored at Heartland Institute's anniversary dinner", illinoisreview.typepad.com; accessed March 3, 2015.
  34. ^ MRC Presents the 2010 William F. Buckley Jr. Award to M. Stanton Evans, Media Research Center, October 14, 2010.
  35. ^ Alanna Hultz, AIM Honors Stan Evans, March 25, 2009
  36. ^ M. Stanton Evans (The American Spectator, Nov 1, 2011) on YouTube
  37. ^ John Gizzi, Matthew Robinson, Joseph A. D'Agostino, David Freddoso and Matthew A. Rarey, "29th Conservative Political Action Conference sets attendance record", Human Events, February 11, 2002.
  38. ^ M. Stanton Evans, Intercollegiate Studies Institute
  39. ^ M. Stanton Evans, "Unlearning the Liberal History Lesson: Some Thoughts Concerning Conservatism and Freedom" (March 1980), hillsdale.edu; accessed March 3, 2015.
  40. ^ M. Stanton Evans Alumni Award, isi.org; accessed March 3, 2015.
  41. ^ "A tribute to Stan Evans: Many owe much to a man who made conservatism relevant and fun". The Washington Times. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 

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