The Conscience of a Conservative

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The Conscience of a Conservative
First edition
Author Barry Goldwater
Subject Politics, American conservatism
Publisher Victor Publishing Co. [Victor Publishing was the name used by Frank E. Simon who was the manager of the real publisher which is Publishers Printing Company in Shepardsville, KY]
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 123
OCLC 1002492

The Conscience of a Conservative is a book published under the name of Arizona Senator and 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1960. The book reignited the American conservative movement and made Barry Goldwater a political star. The book has influenced countless conservatives in the United States, helping to lay the foundation for the Reagan Revolution in 1980.[1]

The book was ghostwritten by L. Brent Bozell Jr., brother-in-law of William F. Buckley.[1] Bozell and Buckley had been members of Yale's debate team. They had co-authored the controversial book, McCarthy and His Enemies, in 1955. Bozell had been Goldwater's speechwriter in the 1950s, and was familiar with many of his ideals. The first edition, 1960, is 123 pages in length and was published in the United States. The book covers such topics as education, labor unions and policies, civil rights, agricultural policy and farm subsidies, social welfare programs, and income taxation. The book is considered to be a significant statement of politically and economically American conservative ideas which were to gain influence during the following decades.[1]

The book continues to inspire contemporary political commentary. John Dean's 2006 book Conservatives without Conscience, for example, draws both its title and some of its principles from Goldwater's book. Senator Paul Wellstone's 2001 autobiography was entitled Conscience of a Liberal. Senator Zell Miller's 2003 critique of the Democratic Party, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat also draws the inspiration for its title from Goldwater's work. In 2007, Paul Krugman entitled his own book The Conscience of a Liberal, saying in the introduction that he wanted his work to stand as a counterpoint to Goldwater's.[2] Former conservative journalist David Brock also alluded to Goldwater's book in his memoir Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.


  1. ^ a b c Frohnen, Bruce (2006). American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington: Intercollegiate Studies Institute. pp. 179–180. ISBN 1-932236-43-0. 
  2. ^ Krugman, Paul (2007). The Conscience of a Liberal. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-06069-1.