Talk:Conservatism in the United States/Archive 8

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Southern conservatism

Should this section exist? It is primarily about Southern Democrats, pre-1960. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 14:21, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't see the problem-- there were very few Republicans in elected office in the South before 1964, so the coverage has to be about Democrats. Booker T Washington was a black Republican who could be mentioned. But he was more of a national figure than a Southerner. There should be a separate section on black conservatives. Rjensen (talk) 14:26, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
The identification of conservatism with the Republican Party and liberalism with the Democratic Party is a relatively recent development. It was Democrat Lyndon Johnson's support for integration that caused the conservative Democrats in the South to become Republicans almost overnight.Rick Norwood (talk) 14:33, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. This page is titled "Conservatism in the United States," not "The History of the Republican Party." As noted by Rick Norwood above, the modern idea that Democrats=Liberal, and Republicans=Conservative is only a fairly recent development since the late 60s and the Southern Strategy. To identify Southern Right-Wing Democrats with modern Liberal Democrats...or the Left-Wing Radical Republicans with the modern Conservative Republicans, is nothing but revisionism, propaganda, and bad history. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 14:49, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Should be expanded. This was part of the argument of Viereck and Kirk that the U.S. had a conservative tradition typified by Calhoun. Some politicians were even elected as "Conservatives" during Reconstruction. TFD (talk) 14:39, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

It is hard to know how to deal with Rjensen's ongoing claim that the anti-slavery movement was conservative rather than liberal. Suggestions would be appreciated. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:42, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Rick has mis-stated the issue. The ABOLITIONIST movement was liberal/radical; but the anti-slavery movement (typified by Lincoln) tried to protect "free labor" and "free soil" from slavery expansion; it was "libertarian" style conservatism (in 2011 language); Lincoln especially connected it to the Founding Fathers. It's true that pro-slavery Southerners said Lincoln and the GOP were abolitionists and just like John Brown, but that was false then and false now. Rjensen (talk) 14:52, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
The funniest thing is how he can simultaneously claim that Lincoln was "Conservative" for being against slavery...but also opposed to the Extreme Leftists of the Radical Republicans, who were also against slavery...just more so. If the "Conservatives" were against slavery...and so were the Leftists...then how do you explain the South? Super-duper-mega-Right-Wing? Bryonmorrigan (talk) 14:54, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
There is no contradiction that the Northeastern commerical elites would come into conflict with the Southern plantation-owning elites. Wars between nations both governed by conservatives is not unknown. TFD (talk) 15:08, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Lincoln said the Founding Fathers were mostly against slavery because it was a bad thing. He agreed with them. What happened is that the Southerners BROKE with the Founding Fathers and introduced a NEW theme that slavery was good. Lincoln vehemently rejected that notion. Instead he wanted to conserve true American values, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence (which pro-slavery Southerners increasingly rejected and ridiculed). Note that the Southerners were not talking about "conserving" slavery--they were demanding to EXPAND slavery, in the West, in Cuba--and indeed everywhere. Rjensen (talk) 15:12, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

The Republican Party has always been dominated by conservatives.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Dunnbrian9 (talkcontribs) 00:08, 26 May 2011

Um, no. That's completely absurd. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 23:00, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Blanking fully sourced statements from leading scholars

Here's an example of a fully sourced non-controversial statement about Lincoln that Norwood blanked with no contrary RS whatever: "Abraham Lincoln became a hero to conservatives for his intense nationalism, support for business, his insistence on stopping the spread of slavery, and his devotion to the principles of the Founding Fathers. [ref] Herman Belz, "Lincoln, Abraham" in Frohen, ed., Americn Conserrvatism: An Encyclopedia (2006) pp 514-18[/ref][ref]Norman Graebner, "Abraham Lincoln: Conservative Statesman," in Graebner, ed. The Enduring Lincoln (1959) pp 67-94 [/ref] As a Whig activist, Lincoln was a spokesman for business interests, favoring high tariffs, banks, internal improvements, and railroads in opposition to the agrarian Democrats. His hero was Henry Clay, who envisioned a powerful modern industrial nations.[ref]Gabor S. Boritt, Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream (1994) pp 196, 198, 228, 301[/ref] Harris (2007) finds that Lincoln's "reverence for the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the laws under it, and the preservation of the Republic and its institutions undergirded and strengthened his conservatism.".[ref]William C. Harris, Lincoln's Rise to the Presidency (2007) p. 2[/ref]" Blanking this material because Norwood does not want readers to learn that conservatives like Lincoln is blatant POV at its worst. (he likewise blanked more from the section for the same unacceptable reason). Rjensen (talk) 14:45, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

I did not "blank" anything. I rewrote a paragraph that had been discussed and refuted here in Talk. If the sentence you quote were "non-controversial", it would not have generated the extensive contraversy it did here in Talk. No major mainstream book on Lincoln or on the Civil Wars says that Lincoln was a conservative or that those who opposed the spread of slavery were conservatives. Several books by conservative authors have tried to claim that Lincoln was "conservative", but there is a difference between authors trying to promote conservatism, and authors trying to give a fair and objective view of history. One can find a book that says anything you want a book to say: that the Earth is flat, that flying saucers kidnap humans, that the world ended yesterday. But on any subject, there are major authors. One indication that Bprott, for example, is a very minor author is that his book was not reviewed in Library Journal.
Not even conservative sources think that the idea that Lincoln was a conservative is non-controversial. For example And not all conservatives like Lincoln today. Many hate him because of his opposition to state's rights and his support of high tariffs.
There is a joke Lincoln told that goes like this. "How many legs does a sheep have, if you call a tail a leg? Answer: four, because calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one." Calling Lincoln "conservative" does not make it so. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:56, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
There is no reason that a "synthesis" of both Rick Norwood's and Rjensen's concept of this section cannot exist, and I think the article will be better for it. For example, Rick's changing of the section title to "The Civil War" is much better than "Lincoln's Conservatism," (which is almost like a POV "thesis statement") and is far more in line with the rest of the article, since the other historical sections are primarily focused on "eras," like the Revolution, Gilded Age, etc. Also, keep in mind that while Lincoln may have become a "hero" to some Conservatives in recent years, he has also been hailed as a "hero" by Liberals, and even Communists, expressed most vividly by the existence of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. [1] I haven't added any references to those Left viewpoints here, because they belong more on a page devoted to Lincoln than one on American Conservatism, but if the "hero" statement is left as is, some kind of mention might be necessary. I also think Rick's "n@#$@r-lover" statement is unnecessarily inflammatory, and I don't think it should be in the article, even if it's a direct quote. (But I guess that must be my "violent hatred" showing itself again.../sarcasm) Bryonmorrigan (talk) 15:37, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Liberals in the New Deal era loved Lincoln as the "common man"--but have sharply downgraded him since the civil rights era. There are a few conservatives who don't like Abe but they don't fare well. One was nominated by Bush to head an agency then withdrawn when Republicans in Congress protested and denounced his hostility to Lincoln. Rjensen (talk) 16:23, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

I would welcome a rewrite by Bryonmorrigan. Rick Norwood (talk) 22:12, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

In the article space, or a proposal here? --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 11:24, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

For my part, I think Bryonmorrigan can be trusted to post a rewrite in the article space, though a posting here first might be a good idea. The trouble with posting every change here is that it can lead to neverending debate. These ideas are so disputed that complete agreement seems impossible, and we must go with the preponderance of the evidence. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:38, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

""let's see what Bryonmorrigan proposes. That first paragraph at issue is about the interpretation conservatives have made of Lincoln. Norwood does not like it for reasons he has not explained, based on sources he has not told us about. I suggest he has no sources that support his views. Rjensen (talk) 17:25, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

My view is supported by the following. Books about people who are conservatives say that those people are conservatives. Every book about Barry Goldwater says that Barry Goldwater is a conservative. Every book about William F. Buckley says that William F. Buckley is a conservative. Now, picking a few books at random: A Team of Rivels does not say Lincoln was a conservative. Shelby Foote's three volume history of the Civil War does not say that Lincoln was a conservative. If Lincoln were a conservative, they would say so. Rick Norwood (talk) 20:06, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
that's bad research---it appears Norwood has not read ANY RS on conservatism. Foote is about battles. Goodwin NEVER uses terms like conservative, liberal or radical, so she's no help at all. Rjensen (talk) 00:37, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Isn't that the point? Most historians would usually refer to parties and factions that existed at the time, rather than categorize them as conservative/liberal/radical etc. TFD (talk) 00:51, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I was wrong about Goodwin; "conservatism" is not in her index but is in the text--she does connect Lincoln to conservatism in terms both of his style (p 169) and his success in bringing conservative Whigs into his coalition ( p 226) ; she paint him as a moderate midway between the conservatives and the Radicals on the slavery issue (p 228). She notes he was in the center of the party (less radical than Seward or Chase, less conservative than Bates, p 254) positioned (His Whiggish pro-business positions were conservative p 62.) In the campaign he appealed especially to the conservative Republicans (p 270) . As president he came under attack from the Radicals and won the support of the conservatives and moderates (407) but he needed both Radicals & conservatives to win the war so he tried to keep a balance (429, 453, 493, 556 ). Conservatives hailed his 10% Reconstruction plan (he vetoed the Radical Wade-Davis plan)(589). She finds: "Lincoln refused to tolerate the radicals' desire to punish the South." (589). It comes down to: Lincoln a moderate on slavery; a conservative pro-business policy; a conservative anti-radical policy on Reconstruction. Rjensen (talk) 04:26, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I think that is how he is normally seen although Schlesinger said "The forces of business, in the main opposed to Lincoln and Republicanism in 1860, captured the party after Lincoln's death." ('The vital center, p. 18)[2] TFD (talk) 04:46, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

I have no problem with the article saying that Lincoln was a moderate, though that seems off topic. Rick Norwood (talk) 11:43, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

I would like see a section on JFK

. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dunnbrian9 (talkcontribs) 07:27, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Why on Earth would we do that? "If by a 'Liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a 'Liberal.'" -- John F. Kennedy [3] Bryonmorrigan (talk) 11:38, 26 May 2011 (UTC)


I want to do a lot of thinking, and have a full discussion here, before I attempt a rewrite on the lede. But I have not given up on the idea of making this a better than C class article. Currently I'm reading books by Patrick Allitt and William Safire.

What strikes me most strongly is this. Every source says that conservatives prefer the tried and true to the untried, they favor gradual change. But in the United States, in current politics, people who call themselves conservative are damanding immediate, drastic change. Do we conclude that these people are not conservative at all, or that the meaning of conservative today is radically different from what it was in the past?

Rick Norwood (talk) 15:09, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Well, if the "radical change" is to move things "backwards" to a previous state (as in, "Let's eliminate Medicare, public education, and all New Deal-style policies, etc."), then it is still Right-Wing, only the proper term would be Reactionary. Of course, the word has a somewhat negative connotation, so it is unlikely that they would use it to refer to themselves. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 15:39, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
I think it means that they favor gradual over radical social reform or revolution, but the motivation is preservation of the status quo. But all sources I have read about political ideology (except ones specifically about the U.S.) group U.S. conservatives under either conservative liberalism or right-wing populism. Both these groups are generally more hostile to social reform than Tory conservatism. TFD (talk) 16:16, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
I can only speak for myself, but IMHO, it depends what the baseline of what is normal. If the baseline is pre-ObamaCare, then they are conservatives, opposing the drastic change that had occured, and returning to close to or back to baseline. If the baseline is post-ObamaCare passage, then those in opposition can be seen as reactionary or radical, in this case it is subject to POV. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 23:49, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

But the idea that ObamaCare is a drastic change is absurd. The Federal Government already pays for the lion's share of medical care -- that of the elderly and poor. ObamaCare is just an extension of that to all citizens. The extreme hatred of ObamaCare is entirely stirred up by the conservative media. Witness, for example, Mitt Romney's views on MassachusettsCare vs. ObamaCare -- same plan, different party. Now, defaulting on the National Debt could lead to the destruction of Western Civilization. That would be an extreme change. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:26, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

That is but just one POV, out of many. We can only speak about our own POVs, but as editors we should attempt to edit neutrally and base the article on what can be verified by reliable sources.
If we are to talk about ObamaCare, then we should carry on the conversation on that article's talk page. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 22:51, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
The opposition to Obamacare was not based on conservative arguments. The Saskatchewan general election, 1960 and Saskatchewan general election, 1964, which were about universal health care, may provide a parallel. Conservatives did not consider universal health care (UHC) to be an issue. Liberals opposed UHC, but accepted it once implemented. Only the right-wing party continued its opposition, but its support collapsed. TFD (talk) 16:46, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Conservatives oppose ObamaCare because they oppose everything Obama does. If Bush had proposed universal health care, they would have embraced it, as they embraced Bush's expansion of Medicare to include prescription drugs. This article needs to avoid the heat of political rhetoric designed only to win the next election. Rick Norwood (talk) 18:00, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Although we as a group perhaps need to read WP:NOTFORUM again, I disagree. I know many republicans, and conservatives, who opposed the expansion of the Medicare prescription drug plan due to the program expanding government. There are also those in that camp that did not agree with the expanded Federal role into state ran education, and the creation of Homeland Security. There are those republicans, who may also consider themselves conservatives, who supported these programs. In the end there are multiple POVs regarding this subject; therefore to summarize that X group oppose Y because it is attached to Z, and only because of Z is incorrect. Of course due to the multiple POVs statement, that maybe the case for some, but definitely not all, and likely not for the majority. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 02:32, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Again they do not oppose it because "they favor gradual change" (which is a definition of conservatism) but because it "expand[s] government" (which is a liberal argument). TFD (talk) 06:03, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
However, the expanded government is the movement away from the gradual change, as it was a drastic change that expanded the government. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 13:46, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Capitalize Communism?

The Wikipedia Manual of Style says to lower case broad movements (communism, socialism, democracy) and upper-case parties (Republican, Democratic, Communist). Here "Communism" refers to the Communist Party not to sharing all goods in common. Rjensen (talk) 21:42, 30 May 2011 (UTC)


I have made the first steps on a proposed rewrite, closely following sources. The thing that impressed me most about the current state of the article is the amount of repetition. The same ideas are repeated, almost word for word, in different sections. We should limit the lede to a brief discussion of what most writers stress, and in later sections eliminate repetition as much as possible. Rick Norwood (talk) 19:11, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Time to pause and take stock. The history section is a mess -- repetitious and not in chronological order -- but one section at a time (except for moving history from the lede into the history section where it belongs). Rick Norwood (talk) 19:46, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

The problem with chronological order is that there is no consensus on who is a conservative. Hartz and Pocock deny that there are conservatives. Kirk and Viereck say that they died out. Rossiter and Allitt say that they have continued. We should have sections about these different views. TFD (talk) 01:50, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

There are many strands and the article does cover them. Hartz says Americans in 18th-19th century were classical liberals (libertarians), which historians consider part of the conservative tradition. (Think Ron Paul and Milton Friedman). Pocock emphasizes civic virtue and republicanism (think John Adams) Viereck (back in the 1950s) praised John Adams and Churchill. Kirk does not say that conservatives died out (he said the " old feudal feeling" died out). Rjensen (talk) 02:23, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Classical Liberals/Libertarians are still "Left" in terms of Social (and foreign policy) issues, which is why Libertarians should not be considered "Conservative." They are only "Right" on economic issues. Any quick glance at Libertarian social policies (favoring gay marriage, enforcing the Separation of Church and State, opposing the War on Drugs, etc.), or the social stances of self-described "Libertarians," like Ron Paul, Tommy Chong, Noam Chomsky, or Howard Stern...none of which really fit the mold of "Conservative." Heck, even _I_ was a member of the Libertarian Party up until they changed their foreign policy stances in the W years to accommodate the "War on Terror," and started focusing on Randian economics. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 13:57, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for a good edit, Rjensen. There are a few typos, which I will fix, and a claim about FDR that seems gratuitous, given that when FDR died we were still at war, and the USSR was our ally. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:07, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

I've finished my edits, for the time being. Tomorrow I want to address problems with the article's structure. It jumps around too much, and has too much repetition. For now, I'm glad we have been able to work together to improve the article. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:07, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

I would avoid the term "far left" because it is not clear what groups it refers to. Also, the article says that Truman supported containment, then switched to rollback, but abandoned this in Korea. We should be clear on what his policies were. Also, describing Truman's reliance on a UN resolution in Korea as a blunder seems to be POV. TFD (talk) 16:18, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
the "blunder" is consensus of historians from all points of view. Far Left = common term for Communists & fellow travellers (like Wallace). Truman did change positions on Korea. Rjensen (talk) 21:15, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
It may be the common term for people who live in Montana or belonged to the Young Americans for Freedom, but for the rest of the world people who work with Communists are not far left, that term is reserved for people to the left of the Communist Party, e.g., Maoists. Even then it is considered pejorative. Also, I do not follow your blunder view either. Do you mean that Truman lost China, and the outcome of the Korean conflict may have been different? TFD (talk) 23:57, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
back in 1950 "Far Left" means Communists & fellow travelers. The Blunder was that Truman had support from conservatives and GOP in summer 1950 but did not allow a vote, so he lost that support. We are having exactly the same debate re Libya right now. Here's a citation: "The Progressive Citizens of America (PCA) was formed in late 1946 by the Communist and fellow- traveler remnants ... control of the PCA had devolved to the far Left only when moderates and liberals left" (citation p 273) Rjensen (talk) 00:46, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Even so, the term appears to be vague today. TFD (talk) 17:59, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
ok, i'll rework it. Rjensen (talk) 19:50, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Rjensen's major edit

Rjensen's recent major edit makes some extradanary claims. I'll try for a more neutral tone -- keeping the good but also mentioning other points of view.Rick Norwood (talk) 12:42, 31 May 2011 (UTC)


Per Knowzilla's comment, the first of the two uses of the word "homosexuality" in the article is already part of a quote. I've put the second use in quotes. You know and I know that homosexuality is natural, but conservatives "know" that homosexuality is a depraved choice and unnatural.

Reverted. Quotation marks are not necessary where you added them, and does nothing to improve the article. Take your personal beef with conservative ideals elsewhere instead of making pointless changes. BeardedScholar (talk) 07:40, 2 June 2011 (UTC)


In reverting, I reverted a "bias" template, because I did not know if the template only applied to the reverted version, or to the earlier version as well. Will the person who added the "bias" template please restore it if it still applies.

A few notes on the changes I reverted. Since the source cited says "homosexuality", the article should reflect the source.

The Founding Fathers were many things, but they were certainly not Libertarians. The claim that they were is unsupported by any source.

Rick Norwood (talk) 11:51, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Editors adding POV templates are required to explain the issues they have, otherwise the templates should be removed. The reference to the founding fathers as "libertarian" appears to have meant that they were 18th century as opposed to modern American liberals. I do not know if we need to explain the liberalism of the founding fathers, but the use of the term libertarian is misleading, especially since there are varieties of libertarianism. TFD (talk) 16:04, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
I think "Classical Liberal" would be a more NPOV, and scholarly, phrase to use. Either way, they would not have been considered "Conservative" under any reasonable definition of the word. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 16:07, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
There is a dispute about whether the term classical liberalism applies to liberal ideology before the 19th century, or whether it is best described as Whiggery and radicalism. Certainly federalist opposition to free trade and the bill of rights were not typical classical liberal positions. TFD (talk) 16:18, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
The Federalists supported Free Trade (see Jay Treaty--which Republicans opposed because it opened trade with Britain) and supported the Bill of Rights (there was almost no opposition in 1791). Rjensen (talk) 17:52, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Quotation marks

Just to clear this up here since there isn't that much space in the revert box...

First, if I came off as snappy, I apologize. I wasn't trying to be, but when reading it back to myself it came off that way.

But to further clarify my point, there are tons of areas in the article in which you could technically use quotations and quote the source they come from, but it wouldn't actually add anything to the sentence to do so. I would think that adding quotation marks would generally be reserved for when:

1. Quoting word for word what a person of interest has to say on a specific subject gives a better understanding of their opinion or stance than just a plain sentence(IE someone commenting that a certain President's term was similar to "enduring the flu for 4 years" gives better understanding than simply saying they disapproved)

2. The quotation is meant to impress upon the reader that it is an opinion held by one particular person of interest, and not an actual fact or generally accepted notion(IE a review for a video game, where a specific reviewer found it disappointing)

Since the source in question is more or less blandly reporting something instead of tossing out commentary or quotes on the matter, I don't think quotations are necessary. If quoting the source was the only criteria for adding quotation marks, then this entire article(and Wikipedia for that matter) could be plastered with them and it would just make the article slightly more bloated and annoying to read. Better to only use quotation marks where necessary in my opinion, and I don't think this case qualifies as necessary. BeardedScholar (talk) 14:42, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

I disagree. Since the phrase is being quoted from elsewhere anyway, quotation marks are appropriate, especially where there is a dispute about the wording, and there is a dispute here. This article (or at least the lead) reads like extremist right-wing propaganda, there is barely any mention of moderate American conservatism in general, aside from a small paragraph which shows gives only slight comparison and no contrast, for example, just of hard-line conservatism. In fact, perhaps the whole lead should be rewritten. --~Knowzilla (Talk) 09:27, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
"extremist right-wing propaganda" --- not clear what the critic means. You have to be more specific. "barely any mention of moderate American conservatism in general" name some of these folks please. Is that Reagan and Bush and Friedman you have in mind? Rjensen (talk) 09:40, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm not referring to certain people, I'm referring to moderate conservatism ideology (in the US). --~Knowzilla (Talk) 10:12, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
you will need some reliable sources to do that--what are your using? Rjensen (talk) 10:40, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

"Since the phrase is being quoted from elsewhere anyway, quotation marks are appropriate"

Again, with this reasoning, the majority of Wikipedia could be in quotation marks. Most everything in a Wikipedia article is being quoted from or paraphrased from other sources, and they generally aren't put in quotations except in the examples I provided above because it isn't necessary.

"especially where there is a dispute about the wording, and there is a dispute here."

Where exactly is there disagreement with the wording? If you're referring to me, I don't disagree with the actual wording, just adding quotation marks. I think it's generally accepted that conservative voters tend to oppose gun control laws, abortion, and issues relating to homosexuality. If further improvement needs to be made to the wording, then let's focus on improving the wording and not just slap quotation marks on it. As it stands though, I see no problem with the wording. BeardedScholar (talk) 08:50, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Rjensen's edit

Once again, Rjensen is trying to get into the article something about Lincoln and "conservative", even when the word conservative is used in a very different way from the way it is used today. I don't really mind the quote, but it is off topic, and I hope someone else reverts it. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:32, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Norwood is off base. Randall was a leading political historian and he talks of Lincoln as a "conservative" fighting the Radicals on Reconstruction policy, which was a very big deal in 1860s. The Radicals were large-scale social engineers--they called themselves "Radicals" -- and hated the Confederate South. Abe rejected their position very dramatically. He wanted to reintegrate the secessionists back into American life (which is what eventually happened). So the "very different way" is Norwood's opinion of Randall even though he has not read Randall. Rjensen (talk) 15:53, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Having not read Randall, but relying only upon the quoted passage, it appears clear that the author is using the word "conservative" in the usage of the word as a "qualifier," rather than an ideology. For example, a historian could easily say that Barack Obama is, "conservative" in his approach to the gay marriage issue, opposing the more radical reforms of the Liberal Left, but also not capitulating to the Conservative Right's demands. However, nobody would describe Obama as a "Conservative" (Big "C"). Might I also point out that the title of Randall's book is "Lincoln the Liberal Statesman," which also tends to make me think that the author was not using the terms "Conservative" and "Liberal" in their modern forms? Bryonmorrigan (talk) 16:18, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
read the book. Randall used "liberal" in the 19th century sense (as in Liberal Republican Party of 1872 which fought and lost to the Radicals). You can say "Jones on the highway was a conservative driver" (= cautious, not daring, going slow). But in this passage Randall means more than cautious--he means a basic political outlook--"conservative" was in standard usage in the 1860s = opponent of the Radicals (similar to today's "opponent of socialism"). AL's "basic ideas were those of Thomas Jefferson" (Randall p 179), a theme developed by conservative scholar Harry Jaffa recently. Randall stresses the equal-opportunity theme in AL's liberalism [p 179] (an idea picked up by conservative Gabor Boritt in Lincoln and the American Dream) Randall says Lincoln was no reactionary (p178) but would he support the welfare state of the New Deal?, asks Randall (p 180) (that is "difficult to say" he concludes). Abe was all in favor of government spending on internal improvements like highways and river improvements (which are not controversial in 2011 but were then). High speed rail? -- Lincoln was a lawyer for the low-speed railroad companies and supported the transcontinental land grant RR to the pacific. He favored gov't aid to education (the land grant to colleges idea), which in 2011 puts him closer to liberals. He favored aid to farmers (free homesteads) (which in 2011 puts him closer to conservatives). He opposed attacks on immigrants (he meant legal immigrants) that puts him a bit closer to liberals today. He really likes workingmen but never said a word about labor unions. Government employees? -- he fired most Democrats holding office in 1861 and replaced them with Republicans. All in all, back to the original quote, he was leader of the moderates/conservatives in opposing the Radicals with their social engineering schemes to remake the South and deprive ex-Confederates of the vote. (Under the Radical Wade-Davis plan, if you ever supported the Confederacy you could not hold office in the South and could not even vote. Lincoln vetoed it)Rjensen (talk) 16:56, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

This is very interesting. I enjoyed reading it. But what has it to do with this article? Rick Norwood (talk) 14:19, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

thanks. the section makes the fully sourced point that in recent years modern conservatives have made Lincoln a hero (this is a change--in the New Deal era he was a liberal hero, but liberals lost interest in dead white men with racist statements). Then the article goes into a bit of detail re Reconstruction policy quoting Randall on AL's conservative opposition to the Radicals. Rjensen (talk) 14:30, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
It might be better to clearly state that in the article. Also, the Courts section appears confusing. None of it is sourced and I think it should be removed. My understanding is that conservatives looked to the courts as a type of House of Lords to prevent radical legislation, but beginning with the Earl Warren the court became a driving force in liberal reforms. TFD (talk) 19:58, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
good point. i tweaked it and added cites Rjensen (talk) 22:37, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. It reads much better now. TFD (talk) 02:00, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Recent edit that contradicts cited sources.

1) Rjensen's edit. I have reverted the following: Conservatism in the United States has a history stretching back to the American Revolution, but emerged as an organized political movement in the 1950s. Since the 1980s it has largely dominated politics.[1] on the grounds that the source says exactly the opposite, ""before the 1950s there was no such thing as a conservative movement in the United States." Rjensen also objects to the statement that Russell Kirk is a pundit. My dictionary defines "pundit" as "an authority". But if he wants to change the wording, I have no objection, as long as he does not change the meaning.

2) Knowzilla's edit. It is, of course, best to use more than one source. On the other hand, Safire is a major conservative writer, and your edit does not just offer another source, but directly contradicts what Safire says. To cite one case where one conservative did not oppose homosexuality does not prove Safire wrong when Safire says that, in general, most conservatives oppose homosexuality.

Rick Norwood (talk) 17:44, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Allit also writes on p. 2, "I make the case that certain people throughout American history can be understood as conservatives".[4] We have discussed this before. There is a modern U.S. conservatism, but whether they are true conservatives or whether conservatism ever existed in the U.S. is debatable, and writers who claim there is a conservative tradition differ among themselves about who should be included. TFD (talk) 04:10, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
allitt in fact goes back to the 18th century in his book, as do many other historians, and he says as the organize movement emerged in the 1950s. Norwood misread the statement which says just this. His book is titled, The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History OVER HALF his book is pre-1945 (152pp --pp 6-157) and half is post 1945 (126 pp pp 158-277)Rjensen (talk) 04:36, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

I do not "misread" Allit. He says, clearly, that Conservatism in the modern sense began in the 1950s. He also says, and this article echoes, that there are sentiments which, looking back, can be identified with conservative ideas, lower case c. What he does not say is that Conservatism, capital C, goes back to the early days of America. This article is about Conservatism in the United States, and its main focus should be time from the 1950s to today, when there was a Conservative movement in the United States. The meaning of the adjective "conservative" is not the same as the meaning of "Conservative", the modern political movement. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:16, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

The History section

The section on history is much too long, and often off topic. I hope it can be rewritten to stick to the subject of this article, which is not American history. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:27, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

I think the best approach is have separate sections about what various writers, Hartz, Kirk, Pocock, Allitt, Frank Meyer, Lipset, etc., had to say on the subject, rather than a chronology, because there is no agreement on who was a conservative. TFD (talk) 15:04, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Fixing the section will be a lot of work, but I think worth doing. Rick Norwood (talk) 17:48, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

We could write a historiography section, which I began as Academic analysis. Chapter 1 of The conservative political tradition in Britain and the United States[5] provides a good introduction. TFD (talk) 19:33, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Recent revert

So why did you delete my contribution to Conservatism in America? Is it not true? The problem with current definitions like "supports traditional values" is that what qualifies as a "traditional value" is never identified. That might be OK for a definition of "conservatism" for all times in all lands, but it is not adequate for Conservatism in America today. Other definitions list the symptoms: limited government, criminalization of abortion, etc. I have identified the thread which is common to most of the issues identified today in America as "conservative". Without this explanation, it is beyond me how anyone can understand today's conservatives. Here again is my explanation, said a bit differently:

The common thread found in most of the issues claimed by today’s Republican conservatives is that some conservatives see in them the influence of America’s Founders, while other conservatives see in them the influence of the Bible. Issues are considered correct to the extent they are considered faithful to these influences. That both influences are often associated with the same issues is made possible, many like David Barton ( believe, by the Bible’s influence in the policies of America’s Founders.

Rather than just delete without explanation or discussion, it would be a courtesy to me to give some reason for deleting. Please contact me at music@Saltshaker.US. DaveLeach (talk) 17:45, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia is about verifiability not truth. You need reliable sources to make claims. TFD (talk) 20:27, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Here is the paragraph added to the lead. "The common thread found in most of the issues claimed by today’s Republican conservatives is that some conservatives see in them the influence of America’s Founders, while other conservatives see in them the influence of the Bible. Issues are considered correct to the extent they are considered faithful to these influences. That both influences are often associated with the same issues is made possible, many like David Barton [20] believe, by the Bible’s influence in the policies of America’s Founders. [21]"

There is no doubt some truth in this, though it ignores the economic issues that are so large a part of conservatism, and ignores the fact that both parties claim to be following the Constitution and to support belief in God. But it seems unencyclopedic in tone and I'm not sure it belongs in the lead.

Rick Norwood (talk) 12:22, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

"homosexual" or "LGBT"

The sources, almost without exception, use the word "homosexual". Some editors here insist that word be replaed by "LGBT". It does not seem to me that the words are identical, and unless a source can be given where a conservative says he or she opposes LGBT rights, I think the wording of the sources should be used. Rick Norwood (talk) 15:10, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm fully in favor of supporting LGBT Rights, but I doubt that I've ever heard a Conservative even use that phrase. It's kinda like the whole "Pro-Life/Pro-Choice" paradigm: Nobody ever calls him/herself "Anti-Life" or "Anti-Choice." I think using "homosexuality" is a bit too far though, as Social Conservatism is both against homosexuality, (as they view it akin to a "disease"...) as well as against civil rights for homosexuals. I do, however, think that most Conservative policy is aimed at opposing civil rights for homosexuals, as their anti-homosexuality agenda is often pursued more through religious and pseudo-psychological counseling, rather than legislation, in my opinion, at least. I could be wrong. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 16:21, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
At present the article does not provide a source for the assertion. TFD (talk) 16:41, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, on an initial Google search for "conservatives", "oppose" & "LGBT rights", I've been able to come up with 3 perhaps fairly reliable sources. Two appear to be opinion pieces (though one, it should be noted, speaks really about same-sex marriage & not LGBT rights in general): [6] and [7]. Another one appears to a project report on the University of Essex's website, which has a fair amount of references to sources within it: [8]. I've gone ahead and added all 3, but feel free to remove one or two if it's too much sources. --~Knowzilla (Talk) 17:30, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
It may be that sources are more likely to use the term "gay rights". Also, the "conservatives" that oppose these rights may be described differently, e.g., as right-wing. TFD (talk) 17:48, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Rick. Reliable sources in this particular context use "homosexuality." Other articles may handle it differently. – Lionel (talk) 22:55, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
No reliable sources have been presented. TFD (talk) 23:18, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────How should this blurb be phrased to be more balanced? There are homosexuals/LGBT individuals who are conservatives, including Log Cabin Republicans, pundits (such as Steve Yuhas), and LGBT conservative politicians (such as Dumanis & DeMaio). --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 23:27, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Yeah...and I am a Liberal who supports the 2nd Amendment. So? My being in support of gun ownership rights does not suddenly "make" American Liberals supportive of them. In fact, I bet if you looked up a poll, you'd probably find that more American Conservatives that are outspoken in opposition to LGBT Rights than you will find Liberals who are for gun control/prohibition. In fact, it's pretty much been the primary Social Conservative agenda position of the last few years. Either way, opposition to LGBT Rights is a major component of American Conservatism. All you have to do is read the paper, or look at the policy positions of American Conservative politicians and organizations. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 00:08, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
To state that either group is entirely opposed to X does not appear to meet WP:NEU, to say that per WP:WEIGHT that the majority are opposed to X, with a given citation would be a statement of verified fact, or an attributed statement. But as it is presently worded, it should be worked on IMHO. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 00:26, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
the text in question is Conservative voters tend to oppose abortion, gun control, and LGBT rights which is close but misleading since it it written from an anti-conservative standpoint. LGBT is a liberal term that conservatives rarely use--ie a liberal editor wrote it. It would be more NPOV & accurate to say that social conservatives strongly oppose legal rights for homosexuals. Rjensen (talk) 00:45, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
What legal rights do they oppose? Habeas corpus, free speech, right to bear arms? TFD (talk) 06:32, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Firstly, Rjensen, please don't label me - you don't know my political stance(s) unless I state them. Secondly, is what you say really true? We're far from the days of Colorado Amendment 2 (see Romer v. Evans). And these days, more and more American conservatives are in favour of LGBT rights - for example, Jon Huntsman, a frontrunner in the Republican primary for 2012 US presidential elections, supports civil unions for same-sex couples, and he was a (very popular may I add) Governor of Utah! Even George W. Bush stated that he supports civil unions when he was president. And let's not forget New York's recent Marriage Equality Bill which was passed by a Republican controlled State Senate (with some voting in favour coming from rural conservative districts)! Then there's Theodore Olson, a conservative constitutionalist & lawyer who is a counsel for the plaintiffs in the currently progressing landmark civil rights case about same-sex marriage, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. And polls are now showing that young conservatives (in the United States) are in favour of even same-sex marriage. Really, this lead needs balancing, it speaks about the social conservatism of older voters, and doesn't reflect the changing situation. And LGBT rights is indeed a term used by many conservatives now. --~Knowzilla (Talk) 06:58, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Few statements (outside mathematics) are universally true. William Saffire, who made the statement about "God, guns, and gays", is a major conservative writer. There are, obviously, a small number of gay conservatives, just as there are a small number of Black conservatives. And there are, apparently, a very small number of conservatives (3?) who use the neologism GLBT. Note that all, yes all, of the sources cited for using GLBT use "gays", not GLBT, in the title. Mainstream American conservatives "opposes homosexuality" in so many words. To argue otherwise is to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. I'm going to change it back to Saffire's referenced wording, unless and until a source of Saffire's stature can be found saying otherwise. Rick Norwood (talk) 11:53, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

That's over-dependence on a single source. Wikipedia, especially in the lede, is summarizing positions and must use NPOV phrasing. The word "homosexual" in this context has a couple problems: it's a now a "conservative term" (to frame it as Rjensen did) given that mainstream news sources and style guides abandoned it in favor of "gay" years ago. It's also inaccurate, since bi/transgendered rights are also opposed by conservativism. Regarding conservatives' use of "LGBT", the National Review, at least, uses it quite a bit, with hundreds of Google hits; see for example [9]. I see the following ways out of those problems: "LGBT rights", most accurate and conforms to WP article naming; "gay rights", less accurate but at least NPOV; and "'homosexual rights'", inaccurate and quoted to indicate that it's a POV term. AV3000 (talk) 12:50, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

The opposition of conservatives to homosexual rights is so well known that to oversource it would be redundant, like providing many sources that George Washington was the first president of the United States. One major source should suffice, where a thousand could be so easily provided.

Yes, conservatives also oppose "GLBT rights". But that is not one of the primary issues for conservatives. Homosexual rights is. I have no objection to single quotes around homosexual rights. The point is that the article is reporting not what is "accurate" in the abstract, but rather what conservatives in the United States say they believe. As Bryonmorrigan pointed out, "right-to-life" is also an inaccurate description of the abstract truth about conservative beliefs, but it is what they say they believe, and Wikipedia uses it for that reason. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:22, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Argh. No, I don't want more citations in the lede, I'd like the opposition details in the body as usual and a terse, complete, NPOV summary in the lede. We're apparently not going to achieve all three, but I don't understand why you're insisting on "homosexual" when Safire refers to "God, guns, and gays" and the rest of the article also uses the term "gay". Article consistency is a virtue. AV3000 (talk) 14:28, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, all four citations there use the term "gay"/"gay rights", so I don't think "homosexual rights" is tenable for the lede even if quoted. AV3000 (talk) 14:40, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps then it should be said that the majority of conservatives are opposed to XYZ? --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 17:54, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I am at a loss to understand why you so strongly favor the neologism GLBT, which I suspect many readers will not understand, which does not appear in standard dictionaries, and which is rarely used by the sources. But, as I said, I think the last paragraph is more important, and this is a distraction. How about if we just say "gay marriage"? Rick Norwood (talk) 18:29, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Rick Norwood here. when discussing conservatives we should not use liberal code words (=not in dictionary) that conservatives almost never use. (Huntsman by the way "denounced marriage for gays" in June 2011; I don't think the NRO much uses the term (it's google's coding when term is not actually used) Rjensen (talk) 19:05, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
As I said earlier, it's the most accurate (as in all-encompassing), but "gay" is also an acceptable option. But did you truly intend to change the lede text to "gay marriage" rather than "gay rights"? The citations refer more generally to the latter. AV3000 (talk) 19:24, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

The final paragraph of the lead.

I'm sorry to see that the discussion of GLBT has been a destraction from what I see as a much more serious problem, the new final paragraph in the lead, which strikes me as, while not entirely untrue, almost certainly original research. Please take a look. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:00, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Not properly sourced. The Tea Party do believe that they are faithful to the founding fathers, but independent sources show they misinterpret these sources. Palin's story of Paul Revere, which is a mangling of a poem rather than real history, is the latest example. But that does not represent the mainstream of modern conservatism, e.g., the people the Republicans put up for president. TFD (talk) 14:58, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Any other thoughts, or should I just remove the paragraph? Rick Norwood (talk) 17:41, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I would take it out. But it goes back to the central problem of the article, that we are combining different strands of political thought that have been called conservative. TFD (talk) 01:21, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
agreed, and I did take it out. I think it is factually wrong and undue. I agree with Norwood that it is original research and it is not based on RS. It does not reflect the article's actual content. As for the Founders, they agreed on ousting the British but they disagreed vehemently about policy such as spending, national debt, role of federal govt, military buildup, foreign policy, role of courts. states rights, etc etc--eg Jefferson versus HamiltonRjensen (talk) 04:45, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Hughes and the Progressive Era

The term "progressive" today = liberal. But not in the early 20th century when "Progressive" included many conservatives like Hughes, Taft and Hoover, as well as liberals like Bryan, Wilson and LaFollette. Indeed Graham shows that 2/3 of the Progressives opposed the New Deal. [An Encore for Reform: The Old Progressives and the New Deal by Otis L. Graham (1968)]. Finkelman concludes, Hughes "is seen, properly, as a conservative" [ Paul Finkelman, Encyclopedia of American civil liberties (2006) Volume 1 - Page 784]. [also: "As a lawyer and a jurist, Hughes is generally regarded as a conservative" says Vile, Great American lawyers: an encyclopedia (2001) Volume 1 - Page 387] For more details see Peter Fish, "William Howard Taft and Charles Evans Hughes: Conservative Politicians as Chief Judicial Reformers," 1975 Supreme Court Review 123.] In the 1920s he was the leading member of the Harding cabinet--a strong conservative credential. Rjensen (talk) 12:47, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

It's the same reason we don't have Teddy Roosevelt on this list. A progressive does not have the same set of beliefs that a conservative has. We're supposed to document conservatives. BTW Hoover sort of established foundations for the New Deal. J390 (talk) 05:03, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Progressive and conservative are not opposites, like even and odd. The words have too many meanings, many of them contradictory, for that to be the case.Rick Norwood (talk) 17:11, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Can you provide any sources for your views? TFD (talk) 18:02, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
There certainly seems to be ample sourcing available referring to Hughes as a conservative, both in his political years and has Chief Justice. --Nat Gertler (talk) 00:37, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
see the multiple citations at the start of this section judging Hughes a conservative. (the problem is that the word "progressive" was dropped by conservatives after 1924 and picked up by the left. Hughes did not call himself a "progressive" after the change in terminology happened. He was a highly effective opponent of the New Deal, overturning so many of its liberal laws that FDR tried to pack the Court in 1937. Hughes was a leader in the successful conservative fight to prevent that. In the 1920s he was a leader of the Harding Administration (as secty of state) Rjensen (talk) 01:56, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
When people in the 1920s thought about a progressive, they thought about Robert M. La Follette, Sr.. Taft or Coolidge was the epitome of a conservative. They talked about conservative vs. progressive the same way we talk about conservative vs liberal today. In 1937, the U.S. had the most radical government in its history. (Although it was still too rightwing for Paul Krugman.) So not everyone who was considered a progressive earlier went all the way with FDR. Kauffner (talk) 03:03, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Social Conservatism and Christianity

It certainly looks like a veteran Edit Warrior has made this concept his new hill to die upon. Regardless, this article is entitled "Cosnervatism in the United States," and Conservative "morality" in the USA is based almost solely, 100%, upon Christian Biblical "morality" and tradition. To deny that is to contradict all of the sources used, as well as to do nothing but original research as well. Certainly, in Islamic countries, Conservative "morality" is based on Islam, rather than Christianity...but this article is about Conservatism in the USA...not other places. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 16:44, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

leading social conservatives usually use the term "Judeo-Christian". This is tied to their VERY strong support of Israel and use of Old Testament & also major role of Jewish conservatives typified by Commentary magazine & also Orthodox Jews . Rjensen (talk) 21:37, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
They may also claim that the morality is grounded in what God holds; that does not mean that we embrace that as fact for the article. The "Social" aspect of conservatism in the US has often been quite anti-semitic, and support for Israel is obviously not something that blankets the whole conservative history in the US (which many social conservatives view as a "Christian nation", no Judeo- about it.) --Nat Gertler (talk) 23:30, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Regardless, whether the term "Christian" or "Judeo-Christian" is used...we're talking about deriving "morality" from the Bible...and the person attempting to delete all references to Christianity has no legitimate, factual leg to stand on. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 02:29, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the "Judeo" in Judeo-Christian is an afterthought, and the support of Isreal is motivated, in part, by a desire to bring about the second coming of Christ. But we should be careful, in discussing "Christian morality", to say something to the effect that "American Conservatives claim to base their beliefs on Christian morality". There is actually nothing at all Christian or Biblical about these beliefs, and many surveys have shown that most Americans who call themselves Christian have never read the Bible. Rick Norwood (talk) 11:54, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

The source says, "Postwar conservatives set about creating their own synthesis of free-market capitalism, Christian morality, and the global struggle against Communism." (Edwards, Conservatism in America, p. 9) It does not seem to have much in common with the Christianity It is a specific type of protestant Christianity, although the appeal has been widened to Catholics and Jews. TFD (talk) 15:00, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

The list of prominent conservatives

Alberto Gonzales was Attorney General for three years; a very prominent position where he was allowed to influence policy quite a bit, as is the case with the State, Defense, and Justice departments. If we can keep Bolton, who was United Nations ambassador, we can keep him. Bobby Jindal is a pretty influential governor who's seen as one of the party's rising stars. He has influenced the news quite a bit, moreso than Governor McDonnell, and is one of the most recognized Governors in the country, with multiple events putting him in the spotlight. Rand Paul and Rubio did just get elected last year, but you have to remember that McDonnell and even Christie were only elected the year before that. They are known for the positions they stake and for influencing policy in the Senate. These four are more prominent than S.E. Cupp, Dana Perino, and Eric Erickson as far as being influential conservatives goes. J390 (talk) 23:34, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree Rand Paul and Rubio are more prominent than Cupp, Perino, and probably Erickson. But I think our inclusion criteria is too leniant. I am a huge fan of Rand Paul but he has only been in Washington for half a year, and even then he is more of a libertarian than a conservative. Christie is becoming known nationwide as a sort of "in-your-face" conservative. McDonnell is somewhere in between. Anyway, that is all just my personal there any way to prevent this list from becoming WP:ORIGINALRESEARCH? –CWenger (^@) 23:43, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
If the list is becoming too lenient, why not trim people like Cupp and Perino? Jindal and Gonzales have had time to influence policy and get name recognition; Rand and Rubio will get time to influence it in time, are already starting to, and do have a national profile. We do have libertarians on this list, Rand Paul's dad coming to mind. McDonnell keeps a lower profile than Christie, so the criteria for including him wouldn't be as strong. J390 (talk) 00:00, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, you are probably right. I was trying to balance any bias toward keeping more elected politicians, but Perino and Cupp probably wouldn't make the cut anyway. I am not sure Gonzales really influenced policy much. Jindal either—I think his biggest moment was the State of the Union speech response. I am for eliminating all the people discussed here except for Chris Christie, as I think he has really affected conservatism nationwide. –CWenger (^@) 00:06, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Gonzales was in a powerful position as AG. He did get the spotlight during his tenure, like his contemporaries in the top positions in the Bush administration, and he even influenced policy on the EIT/torture debate before becoming AG, which wouldn't be enough on it's own (John Yoo). He belongs on a list that has John Bolton on it, although Bolton is also a high-profile pundit. A liberal list would likely have Reno and Holder, so a conservative list should probably have Gonzales more likely than not, as he did get sufficient name recognition in the news. Jindal has been in office four years, and in that time, has been one of the Governors with one of the highest national profiles. His biggest moments were probably the response to the SOTU and his efforts to clean up after the oil spill last year. Anyhow, he has indeed kept a higher national profile than McDonnell. We shouldn't have any stricter or more lenient policy towards keeping politicians than towards keeping pundits. But a pundit probably has to do more to become notable, since it's not just any one of them can influence policy as much as a politician in an elected or appointed position. Cupp and Perino would probably not make the cut under that criteria. Prominent radio hosts, of course, and TV hosts, should be kept. High-profile pundits should, but not more minor pundits. We can't pick run-of-the-mill politicians or pundits who haven't influenced things that much. So I guess the four listed should be either kept or if they aren't there should be some trimming down of entries that aren't really that notable. But Christie should definitely stay on this list. J390 (talk) 00:23, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

The whole section is problematic because it is unsourced, and grounded in no visible standards. On what basis can we state definitively that Abraham Lincoln was a "conservative"? He fought for a break from tradition and strong change that included shifting power from the states to the federal government. Are there conservatives who claim him for their camp? Sure... but there are also conservatives who claim Barack Obama for their camp; should we thus include him? --Nat Gertler (talk) 03:00, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

we have discussed Lincoln at length here--most conservatives today hail him (while liberals seldom claim him anymore). The RS cover current personalities and are used as our source--see for example the Fronen, ed. Encyclopedia. Rjensen (talk) 03:04, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
The fact that conservatives hail him does not therefor make him a conservative; it can be just folks trying to claim a popular figure as their own. (As Archie Bunker said when a neighbor told him that Jesus was an Ethiopian: "The Ethopians say he was an Ethiopian; the Presbyterians say he was a Presbyterian...") I have seen some of the discussions here on it, and they don't seem to have reached consensus. --Nat Gertler (talk) 03:36, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Lincoln was the leader of the moderates and conservatives of the GOP against the Radicals, and called himself a conservative (esp in his fanmous 1860 Cooper Union address). He called slavery unamerican and fought its expansion. Rjensen (talk) 03:40, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
And I can point to a variety of historians labeling Lincoln a liberal; claiming him for the conservative camp fails to be WP:NPOV. People point to previous discussions here as though they reached consensus, which they did not. --Nat Gertler (talk) 02:37, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
It depends on what "conservative" means. If it starts with Hamilton, who was a major influence on the German Conservative Party and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, then Lincoln was a conservative. But if it ends with the Tea Party, then it begins with people such as Samuel Adams. TFD (talk) 03:37, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
this is a historical article that risks distortion by defining terms good for 200+ years according to 2011's Tea Party--which is barely 2 years old and which seems to be split today (Cantor for example supports Boehner Plan and most TP's seem to reject it--but that's true for July 26 and who knows what will be on July 29!. Hence let's try to keep long-term perspective. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rjensen (talkcontribs) 08:40, 27 July 2011
That's a big problem with building this article and particularly with trying to consistently apply the term in historic context. I look back at some of the earlier Lincoln arguments that seem to rely on things like Lincoln was against slavery, today's conservatives oppose slavery, and thus Lincoln is a conservative, overlooking that opposing slavery at the time was a strong fight against tradition, a radical change (and also, of course, that there is no substantial pro-slavery group in the U.S.) There is strong POV involved in deciding just what set of beliefs is "conservative" and how it applies to various times. --Nat Gertler (talk) 14:32, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Slavery was not a tradition in the Northern States that elected Lincoln. TFD (talk) 14:39, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
I've removed Lincoln from the list. He did not call himself a conservative, and was considered a morderate. Due to his status, people from both sides will claim him as their own. However, you'll find most criticism of Lincoln coming from southern paleoconservatives and right-wing libertarians like Chuck Baldwin, Ron Paul and Thomas DiLorenzo. Liberal praise them for using the Ferderal Government to abolish slavery. LittleJerry (talk) 23:47, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Was Lincoln a conservative (again!)

We have been over this ground repeatedly. The recent rewrite confuses three meanings of the word "conservative", it's original meaning, the way it was used in Lincoln's day, and the way it is used today. The original meaning of conservative was "one who supported the social hierarchy, including support for slavery. Lincoln was not a conservative in that sense. The sense in which Lincoln used the word, in his Cooper Union speech, was "one who supports the union", but he was using that word in that way in an effort to appeal to voters, and it no more makes him a conservative than Kennedy's Berlin speech makes him a Berliner. Finally, the recent rewrite pretends that the modern claim of conservatives -- that they are not pro Upper Class but really "pro-business", would have been meaningless in Lincoln's time.

To support a claim that Lincoln was a conservative, you need to cite a mainstream book that says so. In fact, on the basis that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, you should cite several major mainstream books that support your view. As I've pointed out, none of the major histories of the Civil War, none of the major biographies of Lincoln, say he was a conservative. It is a claim made by conservatives writing in support of conservatism. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:00, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

This the first time I've ever heard any discussion about Lincoln and conservatism. I find your last statement puzzling. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 14:07, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
This reminds me of the great comedy skit by Dave Chapelle about the Race Draft. I love that we need extraordinary proof to state that a Republican was a conservative! If only that were the case today!  :) Arzel (talk) 14:12, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
The idea that "Republicans=Conservatives" and "Democrats=Liberals" is a recent invention, and has only been (mostly) true since the late 1960s (See: Southern Strategy). Prior to that, there were plenty of Conservative, or even Far Right Democrats (like the KKK...), and plenty of Liberal, or even Far Left Republicans (like the Radical Republicans and Thaddeus Stevens). Bryonmorrigan (talk) 14:33, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
the statements about Lincoln are fully sourced by leading scholars. All his biographers agree he led the conservative-moderate faction against the Radicals. In the case of Norwood he is erasing sourced material based on his own personal views with no citations to any scholar who might support his position. He seems to know more about Kennedy than Lincoln. Rjensen (talk) 16:53, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Being a conservative-moderate within a party does not make one conservative in the larger sense of even the time, as it's a relative description (just as today, a "conservative Democrat" may still be to the left of a "liberal Republican"), much less does it fit Lincoln as a conservative by today's measures. --Nat Gertler (talk) 16:54, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Lincoln was a conservative Whig, his biographers all agree. He called himself a conservative in bipartisan terms, esp in the famous Cooper Union address. By 21st century measures, he was pro-business, pro-American dream, pro-military, pro-liberty, anti-slavery, anti-Radical, and strongly nationalistic. That's why 21st century conservatives like him. Rjensen (talk) 17:07, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
In an article about conservatism in the U.S., a highly influential book about American conservatism trumps a Lincoln bio. Russell Kirk wrote up Lincoln as a conservative in the The Conservative Mind. That is certainly relevant to this article. That various authors have claimed Lincoln as a liberal does not disprove the claim that he was a conservatives. We don't have to resolve the paradox, just follow the sources. Lincoln explained why he considered himself a conservative in one of his most famous speeches. To leave this stuff out is to rewrite history because you don't like the way it happened. Kauffner (talk) 17:16, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
All those things are great in supporting that modern American conservatives try to embrace Lincoln and why, but to suggest that Kirk says something and thus is true is to suggest there is only one way to view conservatism, and that is Kirk's. Trying to say things like he was "pro-Business" and "pro-American dream" as making him a conservative is simply buying into a limited conservative view of who they are and who everyone else is. I doubt the plantation owners of the time thought much about the new federal regulations being laden on their industry, and the liberals of today will also tell you that they are pro-business, pro-American dream, and anti-slavery. --Nat Gertler (talk) 17:46, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
NatGertler is perhaps unsure what happened when he says "I doubt the plantation owners of the time thought much about the new federal regulations being laden on their industry". There were no such regulations under Lincoln.Rjensen (talk) 19:39, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Slavery does not exist under common law and can only be established through regulation. However such regulations are prohibited by the U.S. constitution. TFD (talk) 17:32, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
There was this little thing called the Emancipation Proclamation, which eliminated the rights of plantation owners (and others, of course, but it had the biggest impact there) from owning certain assets which had been of great import to their businesses. --Nat Gertler (talk) 16:56, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
If there are sources that say that Lincoln was a conservative, it should be easy to attribute the statements to those sources. If there are other sources that say that he is not a conservative, it should be equally as easy to attribute those sources. For the fairness of balanced POV, each side should be given due weight and/or represented here or in Lincoln's article. --RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 08:12, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

The section on Lincoln, as it stands at the moment, seems fair, giving ways in which Lincoln was more (lower case c) conservative than the radicals, but not claiming him as an (upper case C) Conservative, which in Lincoln's day meant pro-slavery. Kirk is not a major authority on Lincoln; he wrote to promote conservatism. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:32, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Kirk did not say that Lincoln was a conservative, because to him conservatism had died out in the North with the election of Jefferson. However, if we use the definition of conservative as the party of the establishment, then Lincoln was in a long tradition stretching from Hamilton to Roosevelt to George W. Bush that was willing to use the power of the federal government to advance public policy. If we believe that Gone with the Wind was a history book, then only southerners could be conservatives. If we use modern popular definitions, then conservatism was represented by the Copperheads. TFD (talk) 13:07, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Norwood is mistaken in arguing the conservative = pro-slavery. Not in 1860. The pro-slavery people wanted to expand slavery into the territories and (Dred Scott) be able to take and work their slaves in free states. They wanted to expand to Cuba (Ostend Manifesto). Lincoln (Cooper Union and many speeches) denounced this as a radical new innovation and argued that the Republicans were the true "conservatives" because they held to the original views of the Founding Fathers. Most historians in 21st century agree with Lincoln on this point; I don't know of any RS that support Norwood's position, and Norwood does not know any either. As for Kirk, he provides evidence of what conservatives believe, which is the topic of this article. Rjensen (talk) 17:52, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Kirk was very influential in mid-20th century Conservatism which was a fusion of various groups. But the meaning of the word has changed over time. In Lincoln's day, (lower case c) conservative meant (OED) "holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion", while (capital C) Conservative meant (OED again) "of or relating to the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country". The Republican party was not a (capital C) Conservative party. So, to discuss Lincoln in the (I think much too long) history section, and to say that he was "conservative" compared to the radical Republicans is fine. To claim him as a Conervative is not. He was conservative in fighting to preserve the union. The South was conservative in fighting to maintain their "peculiar institution". But none of these have anything to do with the Conservative political movement which is the subject of this article. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:56, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Norwood gives the British usage. For American usage better read Lincoln's Cooper Union speech and his other 1859-60 speeches, which as the RS report, emphasized that he was the conservative and the Democrats were trying to change American traditions. Lincoln repeatedly called himself a conservative, by which he said he meant faithful to the original intent of the Founding Fathers. That is a common conservative theme in 2011 (the Tea Party folk even dress up like Founding Fathers and use the 1773 Boston tea Party for their name). Here is what Lincoln said in a speech in Ohio in 1859: "The chief and real purpose of the Republican party is eminently conservative. It proposes nothing save and except to restore this government to its original tone in regard to this element of slavery, and there to maintain it, looking for no further change in reference to it than that which the original framers of the Government hemselves expected and looked forward to." [Collected Works 3:404] Rjensen (talk) 13:15, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

The Tea Party folk dress up like Founding Fathers, but many of them don't know anything about the Founding Fathers. (Paul Revere rode to warn the British not to take away our guns.) Both Liberals and Conservatives claim to support Truth, Justice, and the American Way (and claim the other side doesn't). This is political rhetoric. As I've said before, Lincoln was a conservative, but not a Conservative. If Lincoln was a Conservative, at least one of the major books on Lincoln (by a Lincoln scholar, not by a Conservative advocate) would say so. In fact, if Lincoln were really a Conservative, all of the books about Lincoln would say so, just as all the of the books about Barry Goldwater say he was a Conservative. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:25, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Norwood really should read Lincoln's speeches. As for biographies he should read Benjamin Thomas, Guelzo and Harris. He seems to have read none of them. Rjensen (talk) 13:28, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

There are countless books on Lincoln and the Civil War; nobody can read them all. I haven't read Thomas, Guelzo and Harris, but I have read Bruce Catton, Shelby Foote, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and many others. I've also read many of Lincoln's speeches, and memorized a few. By the way, the way the article reads after your recent edit is fine. (I still think the history section is too long, but I'm probably not the right person to try to shorten it.) Rick Norwood (talk) 13:32, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

It brings us back to the question, what is conservatism in the United States? Is it the Federalist/Whig/Republican party? Is it the Hamiltonian view of a strong central government run by the elites? Is it a decentralized state run by the middle class? Is it support for the established church or support for sects? Is it support of tariffs or support of free trade? TFD (talk) 19:08, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes indeed, TFD, we're talking here about 30%-50% or so of the politically active population for the last 250 years, and that covers a LOT of territory. The goal of the article is indeed to answer how all the different movements relate to conservatism. Happily there are a lot of good RS. (I especially like Allitt and Fronen for their concise, to-the-point coverage.) Rjensen (talk) 03:16, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Lincoln was certainly in the Federalist/Whig/Republican tradition. He was supported by the Northeastern establishment and by the wealthier Northern citizens. He does differ from other "conservatives" in that he appealed to radicals, rather than reactionaries. TFD (talk) 01:06, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Lincoln "appealed to radicals"??? he disagreed with the Radicals and vetoed their plans, and seemed to have the upper hand until he was killed. Identifying "conservative" with "reactionary" applies to Europe, not US. (Reagan, Friedman as reactionaries???) Rjensen (talk) 03:48, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Radicals voted for Lincoln in 1860 and some served in his administration, Copperheads did not. A typical "conservative" would have appealed to the Copperheads and radicals would have supported someone else. TFD (talk) 12:20, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Again, we're playing a shell game, where we have to guess which meaning is hidden under the shell "conservative", and it may get switched around in mid-sentence. Lincoln was a conservative (people who support the Constitution are conservative) and he was conservative (cautious, not radical) and he was a Whig, and the Whigs were conservative (support for the upper class) in contrast to the Jeffersonian Democrats (populist). But he put people of all views in his cabinet (see A Team of Rivels). He was a Liberal (fought a War to presevere the Federal Government against the Conservatives who believed in States Rights), he was liberal (generous in victory to the vanquished), and was a liberal Whig (later Republican) because he appealed to the common man rather than just the upper class, and was never a member of the upper class. In Lincolns day, the only captial C "Conservative" party was the Southern Whig party, and they did indeed call themselves "Conservative Whigs" to distinguish themselves from the Northern Whigs. Every American considered himself a Liberal.

This entire discussion has nothing to do with the article, which is about the capital C Conservative movement which began in the 1950s. Do we need to do with this article what we did with Liberalism in the United States, and split off Modern Conservatism in the United States?

Rick Norwood (talk) 12:44, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Norwood invents history. For example there never was a party that called itself "Conservative Whig". (There was a "Conservative" party in the South after Lincoln's death which probably is the source of Norwood's mistake.) Lincoln was one of the richest and most powerful men in Springfield, which makes him as "upper class" as anyone there. From 1840 onward till the death of the party about 1855 all the Whigs appealed to the common man, say the historians. "Every American considered himself a Liberal." is false. The term "Liberal" in American politics was first used in 1872 when anti-Grant people formed a party. Rjensen (talk) 14:46, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

To be honest...while I disagree that Lincoln could ever be considered a "Conservative," (Moderate maybe...but the Right in the 1860s were primarily pro-slavery) but I think Rjensen has put forth a reasonable defense that some reputable sources consider him to be such. I think the language should reflect the fact that there is no general consensus among all historians on this matter or anything, but if he wants to present Lincoln as being viewed as a "Conservative" by those sources, while also mentioning that there is some dissent on the matter, I think that would be a reasonable compromise. Also, I think any discussion of Lincoln as a "Conservative" should state that this largely comes from his being to the Right of the Radical Republicans and the other anti-slavery Left-Wingers, like Thaddeus Stevens, rather than falling into the pseudo-historical nonsense of trying to define the South as being "Left/Liberal," simply because of the racism of Southern Conservative Democrats...when Lincoln was clearly to the Left of those guys. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 15:24, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree with making modern conservatism in the U.S. a separate article. There is no consensus on the meaning of conservatism for earlier periods, or even that it is meaningful to use the term. Bryonmorrigan, the theory that Lincoln was conservative does not imply that the South was liberal. Supposedly a conservative in a slave state would defend slavery while a conservative in a free state would not. TFD (talk) 15:41, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
the consensus of scholars is that conservatism today is a continuation of an ideology that emerged in the 18th century. Likewise all conservatives today say that. Who says otherwise? Rjensen (talk) 15:48, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
TFD, many modern Conservatives do indeed imply that the South, later also including the KKK and pro-Segregation Democrats, were "Left/Liberal," and that the Radical Republicans were actually "Right/Conservatives," simply due to their membership in the Republican Party...which is based on the fallacy of thinking that the GOP has always been a bastion of Conservatism. (A ludicrous idea...) While I don't think Rjensen was intending to make that kind of a statement, similar ones have been used in defense of the Lincoln=Conservative argument by other editors, and this article should not contribute to such absurd pseudo-historical claptrap. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 16:04, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Peter Viereck ("The revolt against the elite" (1955))[10] traced it to populism. Kirk said it had died out in 1800. Bryanmorrigan, we can deal with those fringe theories if they come up. But the South as conservative is a myth also. The planatation system was inherently capitalist, not some remnant of feudalism. TFD (talk) 16:34, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
The South was still much more Socially Conservative than the North, as evidenced by their support for slavery. Left/Right is not always about economics...but we're digressing. Bryonmorrigan (talk) 16:40, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
The theory that the South was conservative is central to Kirk's thesis that there is/was conservatism in the United States. There is nothing "conservative" about slavery. Slaves were private property. And "socially conservative" has nothing to do with conservatism. The Puritans, Methodists and Populists were "socially conservative". Mao's China was "socially conservative". TFD (talk) 17:25, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

To address Rjensen's claim that I "invent" history, it is easy to make claims if you don't give your references. 1) Here is what the Wikipedia article Whig Party (United States) says, "In the South during the latter part of the war and Reconstruction, many former Whigs tried to regroup in the South, calling themselves "Conservatives" and hoping to reconnect with ex-Whigs in the North" I know we can't use Wikipedia as a reference, but I don't have access to the complete article that is given as a reference: Alexander, Thomas B. "Persistent Whiggery in the Confederate South, 1860-1877," Journal of Southern History, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Aug., 1961), pp. 305–329 online at JSTOR. The link only gives the first page. Maybe someone who can access the whole article can provide more information. 2) Being rich and powerful does not make one Upper Class, at best it makes one nouveau riche. One must be born into the Upper Class, thus organizations such as the DAR. Lincoln was consistently mocked for his lack of an Upper Class background. He was a "country bumpkin" who had no business meddling in the important business of politics. But I also doubt your assertion that Lincoln was rich and powerful even by Springfield standards. For four years he did not even have a bed of his own, but had to share one with another lawyer. When he proposed marriage to Mary Owens, he wrote "I am afraid you would not be satisfied. There is a reat deal of flourishing about in carriages here, which it would be your doom to see without shareing in it. You would have to be poor without the means of hiding your poverty." 3) While the Whig party began as a party of the Lower Class, over against the interest of the Upper Class, who the Whigs accused of being Masons (some of them were), after 1940, "Whigs ran well among almost all social classes in cities and trading centers, but they were especially attractive to the economic and social elite of those communities. Of men worth more than $100,000 in New York, for example, 85% were Whig", p. 116, Machael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party. 4) According to Lewis Hartz, "The Liberal Tradiction in America", p. 3, "the American community is a liberal community". Even conservatives were proud to call themselves liberal, before the 1980s. As for your claim that "Liberal" was first used in American politics in 1972, here is Thomas Jefferson, writing about the struggle for religious freedom, "Among these, however, were some reasonable and liberal men, who enabled us, on some points, to obtain feeble majorities." Admittedly, the word "liberal" is not capitalized. But neither is the word "conservative", in the Cooper Union speech. (Actually, it is dangerous to discuss capitalization, because modern printers often surpress the frequent capitalization found in old documents.) In any case, Jefferson is using the word the way modern liberals use it, to mean opposition to an established church, and in opposition to modern Conservatives who claim "America is a Christian nation." Rick Norwood (talk) 15:26, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

I don't follow you. The Whigs/Republicans were the party of the elites and Lincoln was their leader. (It does not matter what his class background was.) While Hartz called the two sides "whig" and "democrat", modern terminology is "conservative" and "liberal". TFD (talk) 16:03, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

You are trying to fit history into tidy packages, but it won't fit. The Whig party in the US started out praising the common man and attacking the elite. Among other things, it was the anti-Masonic party. Try fitting anti-Masonic into the modern rubric of conservative and liberal! But its character changed dramatically over its short lifetime. Rick Norwood (talk) 20:06, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Norwood is quoting against me a section on "Reconstruction" that I wrote. After Lincoln's death former Whigs in the South called themselves "Conservatives" (they no longer used "Whig") and opposed the Radicals; Lincoln also opposed the Radicals esp in 1864-65 regarding reconstruction. The issue in 1850s was the Expansion of slavery--Lincoln denounced it as a violation of conservative principles. He started poor but by 1860 he was a leading citizen of Springfield and one of the richest men there. Ameericans don't talk much of an "upper class" -- Norwood gets that from European history where they did --and still do--have kings, queens and hereditary aristocrats. Rjensen (talk) 20:14, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
As Lipet pointed out in The first new nation, American conservatives have always tried to portray their opponents as "elitist".[11] They have also tried to incorporate right-wing third party movements into the fold. While society has changed, there are parallels between the Anti-Masons and Whigs of the 1840s and the Tea Party and Republican Party of today. TFD (talk) 20:47, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Rjensen: so, there was never a "Conservative Whig" party, just former Whigs who changed their name to Conservative. Thanks for clearing that up. We all agree that Lincoln was "conservative" if you use the word to mean "not-radical". He may also have been a conservative poker player, for all I know. But that doesn't make him a Conservative. You write "Americans don't talk much of an "upper class" -- Norwood gets that from European history." Where do you get off pretending to know where I get my ideas. As it happens, I get my ideas about the Upper Class by being born into the Upper Class. My mother was a DAR. And people in the Upper Class talk about being in the Upper Class all the time, though they usually confine such talk to the Country Club and not to the public square these days. In Rossiter's day, they were proud to proclaim it. (I'm not offering my personal testomy as evidence for Wikipedia, just as evidence to refute your claim to know where Norwood gets his ideas.) Rick Norwood (talk) 14:02, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Should we include anything on Harry V. Jaffa since he is primarily responsible for bringing Lincoln into the conservative tradition beginning with his book "Crisis of the House Divided"? RetroLady64 (talk) 15:36, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
You would need a source that explains Jaffa's role. Curiously, in the book, Jaffa does not call Lincoln a conservative and mostly uses the term "conservative" to refer to supporters of slavery.[12] TFD (talk) 15:53, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I can work on that. He has an essay entitle "Equality as a Conservative Principle" (1978) where he argues that Lincoln's stance on equal natural rights is the basis of American conservatism. But you are correct, Jaffa did refer to Douglas and supporters of slavery as "conservative" along with Calhoun, who he discusses in "A New Birth of Freedom." Perhaps it demonstrates the division among conservatism more than Lincoln not being apart of that camp. Anyway, I'll post my findings here before I put them in the article. RetroLady64 (talk) 16:22, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
    • ^ Patrick Allitt, The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History(2009) p. 2