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Traditionalist conservatism, also known as traditional conservatism, classical conservatism, traditionalism and (in the United Kingdom and Canada) Toryism, is a political philosophy emphasizing the need for the principles of natural law and transcendent moral order, tradition, hierarchy, organic unity, classicism, high culture, and the intersecting spheres of loyalty. Some traditionalists have embraced the labels reactionary and counterrevolutionary, defying the stigma attached to these terms since the Enlightenment.
Traditionalism developed throughout 18th-century Europe (particularly in response to the disorder of the English Civil War and the radicalism of the French Revolution). In the middle of the 20th century it started to organize itself in earnest as an intellectual and political force. This more modern expression of traditionalist conservatism began among a group of U.S. university professors (labeled the "New Conservatives" by the popular press, not to be confused with neoconservatism) who rejected the notions of individualism, liberalism, egalitarianism, modernity, and social progress, promoted cultural and educational renewal, and revived interest in the Church, the family, the state, local community, etc.
- 1 Key principles
- 2 Intellectual inheritance
- 2.1 British influences
- 2.2 American influences
- 3 Traditionalism in the United States
- 3.1 Revival of conservative cultural criticism
- 3.2 A traditionalist counter-establishment
- 3.3 Renewal and consolidation
- 3.3.1 The second generation: the "conservators"
- 3.4 The torch is passed
- 3.5 The restoration of tradition and community in the 21st century
- 4 Other traditionalist organizations
- 5 Literary traditionalists
- 6 British and European connections
- 6.1 British philosophers
- 6.2 British publications
- 6.3 British political organizations
- 6.4 European educational organizations
- 7 Traditionalist conservatism and politics
- 8 Traditionalism in higher education
- 9 Traditionalist conferences
- 10 Related political philosophies
- 11 Related institutions and publications
- 12 Noted figures
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 Further reading
Natural law and transcendent moral order
Belief in natural law and transcendent moral order lay the foundation for traditionalist conservative thought. Reason and Divine Revelation inform natural law and the universal truths of faith. It is through these universal truths of faith that man orders himself and the world around him. Mankind organized society on the basis of these universal truths of faith. The traditionalist holds axiomatic the belief that religion precedes civilization (vide, T. S. Eliot's essays Christianity and Culture). Most traditionalist conservatives embrace High Church Christianity (e.g. T. S. Eliot, an Anglo-Catholic; Russell Kirk, a Roman Catholic; and Rod Dreher, an Eastern Orthodox Christian). Not all traditionalists, however, are High Church Christians. Other traditionalists whose faith traditions are notable include Caleb Stegall, who is an evangelical Protestant. Many conservative mainline Protestants are also traditionalist conservatives, including some of the writers for Touchstone Magazine. Many traditionalists are Jewish, such as the late Will Herberg, Irving Louis Horowitz, Mordecai Roshwald, and Paul Gottfried.
Tradition and custom
As the name suggests, traditionalists believe that tradition and custom guide man and his worldview. Each generation inherits the experience and culture of its ancestors and through convention and precedence man is able to pass it down to his descendants. To paraphrase Edmund Burke, often regarded as the father of modern conservatism: "The individual is foolish, but the species is wise."
Hierarchy and organic unity
Traditionalist conservatives believe that human society is essentially hierarchical (i.e., it always involves various interdependent inequalities, degrees, and classes and that political structures that recognize this fact, prove the most just, thriving, and generally beneficial). Hierarchy allows for the preservation of the whole community simultaneously, instead of protecting one part at the expense of the others.
The countryside and the values of rural life are highly prized (sometimes even being romanticized, as in pastoral poetry). The principles of agrarianism (i.e., preserving the small family farm, open land, the conservation of natural resource, and stewardship of the land) are central to a traditionalist's understanding of rural life.
Classicism and high culture
Traditionalists defend classical Western civilization, and value an education informed by the texts of the Hebraic, Greek, Roman, and Medieval eras. Similarly, traditionalists are classicists who revere high culture in all of its manifestations (e.g., literature, music, architecture, art, theater).
Patriotism, localism, and regionalism
Unlike nationalists, who esteem the role of the State or nation over the local or regional community, traditionalists hold up patriotism as a key principle. Traditionalist conservatives think that loyalty to a locality or region is more central than any commitment to a larger political entity. Traditionalists also welcome the value of subsidiarity and the intimacy of one's community, preferring the Civil Society of Burke's "little platoons" over the expanded State. Nationalism, alternately, leads to jingoism and views the state as abstract from the local community and family structure rather than as an outgrowth of these local realities.
Late 18th century
Traditionalist conservatism began with the thought of Anglo-Irish Whig statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, whose political principles were rooted in moral natural law and the Western tradition. Burke believed in prescriptive rights and that those rights were "God-given". He also defended what he referred to as "ordered liberty" (best reflected in the unwritten law of the British constitutional monarchy). Burke also advocated for those transcendent values that found support in such institutions as the church, the family, and the state. He was a fierce critic of the principles behind the French Revolution, and in 1790 his observations on its excesses and radicalism were collected in Reflections on the Revolution in France. In Reflections he called for the constitutional enactment of specific, concrete rights and warned that abstract rights could be easily abused to justify tyranny. American social critic and historian Russell Kirk wrote that, "The Reflections burns with all the wrath and anguish of a prophet who saw the traditions of Christendom and the fabric of civil society dissolving before his eyes."
Burke's influence extended to later thinkers and writers, both in his native Britain and in Continental Europe. Among those influenced by his thought were the English Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and Robert Southey, Scottish Romantic author Sir Walter Scott, and the counter-revolutionaries writers, the French François-René de Chateaubriand and Louis de Bonald, and the Savoyard Joseph de Maistre. In the United States the Federalist Party and its leaders, such as President John Adams and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, best represented Burke's legacy.
Coleridge, Carlyle, Newman, and the "critics of material progress"
According to traditionalist scholar Peter Viereck, Coleridge and his associate and fellow poet William Wordsworth began as supporters of the French Revolution and the radical utopianism it spawned. But by 1798 their collection of poems, Lyrical Ballads had rejected the Enlightenment thesis of reason over faith and tradition. Coleridge's later writings, including Lay Sermons (1816), Biographia Literaria (1817), and Aids to Reflection (1825) justified traditional conservative positions on hierarchy and organic society, criticism of materialism and the merchant class, the need for "inner growth" that is rooted in a traditional and religious culture. Coleridge was a firm believer in social institutions and a harsh critic of Jeremy Bentham and his Utilitarian philosophy.
Writer, historian, and essayist Thomas Carlyle was also an early traditionalist thinker, defending medieval notions such as aristocracy, hierarchy, organic society, and class unity over socialism and the "cash nexus" of laissez-faire capitalism. According to Carlyle, the "cash nexus" was when social relationships were merely reduced to economic gain. A champion of the poor, Carlyle believed that the fabric of British society was being threatened by mobs, plutocrats, socialists, and others who wanted to exploit them and perpetuate class resentment. A devotee of Germanic culture and Romanticism, Carlyle is most known for his writings Sartor Resartus (1833–1834) and Past and Present (1843).
In the mid-19th century the Church of England experienced a "catholic revival" in the form of the Oxford Movement, a religious movement designed to restore the Catholic nature of Anglicanism. Led by John Keble, Edward Pusey, and John Henry Newman, the Tractarians (so called for the publication of their Tracts for the Times) condemned religious liberalism while defending "dogma, ritual, poetry, [and] tradition". Like Coleridge and Carlyle, Newman (who became a Roman Catholic in 1845 and eventually a Cardinal in the Church) and the Tractarians were critical of material progress, or the notion that wealth, prosperity, and economic gain were the sum of human existence.
Arnold and Ruskin: cultural and artistic criticism
Matthew Arnold, a poet and cultural critic, is best known for his poetry and literary, social, and religious criticism. His book Culture and Anarchy (1869) took on the middle-class Victorian values of the day (Arnold viewed middle class tastes in literature as "philistinism") and argued for a return to the classical literature of the past. Arnold also viewed with skepticism the plutocratic grasping in socioeconomic affairs which Coleridge, Carlyle, and the Oxford Movement criticized.
One of the themes that traditionalist conservatives have consistently reiterated has been the theme that industrial capitalism is as questionable as the classical liberalism which spawned it. Carrying on in this tradition was cultural and artistic critic John Ruskin, a medievalist who called himself a "Christian socialist" and cared much for standards in culture, the arts, and society. For Ruskin (as with all the 19th-century cultural conservatives), the Industrial Revolution had fomented dislocation, rootlessness, and the mass urbanization of the poor. In his art criticism he wrote The Stones of Venice (1851–1853), which took on the Classical tradition while defending Gothic art and architecture. His other works included The Seven Lamps of Architecture and Unto This Last (1860).
Benjamin Disraeli and "one-nation conservatism"
In politics the ideas of Burke, Coleridge, Carlyle, Newman, and other traditionalist conservatives were distilled into the policies and philosophy of former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli in his younger years was an opponent of middle class capitalism and the industrial policies that were promoted by the "Manchester liberals" (The Reform Bill and the Corn Laws). Seeking a way to alleviate the suffering of the urban poor in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, Disraeli sought out to unify the nation by way of "One Nation Conservatism," where a coalition of aristocrats and the common working man would unite to stave off the influences of the liberal middle class. This new coalition would serve as a way to work with the enfranchised masses while grounding them in "ancient conservative traditions". Disraeli's ideas (including his criticism of Utilitarianism) found fruit in the "Young England" movement and in writings such as "Vindication of the English Constitution" (1835), "The Radical Tory" (1837), and his "social novels" Coningsby (1844) and Sybil (1845). A few years later his "One Nation Conservatism" found new life in the "Tory Democracy" of Lord Randolph Churchill and in the early 21st century in the "Progressive Conservatism" of the Red Tory thesis of British philosopher Phillip Blond.
In the early 20th century, traditionalist conservatism found its defenders through the efforts of Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton and other proponents of the socioeconomic system they advocated: distributism. Originating in the papal encyclical Rerum novarum, distributism employed the concept of subsidiarity as a "third way" solution to the twin evils of socialism and capitalism. It favors local economies, small business, the agrarian way of life, and craftsmen and artists. In such books as Belloc's The Servile State (1912), Economics for Helen (1924), and An Essay on the Restoration of Property (1936) and Chesterton's The Outline of Sanity (1926), traditional communities that echoed those found in the Middle Ages were advocated and big business and big government condemned. In the United States distributist ideas were embraced by the journalist Herbert Agar, Catholic activist Dorothy Day, and through the influence of the German-born British economist E. F. Schumacher and were comparable to the work of Wilhelm Roepke.
T. S. Eliot was a champion of the Western tradition and orthodox Christian culture. Eliot was a political reactionary who used modernist literary means for traditionalist ends. His After Strange Gods (1934) and Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948) align with the grand tradition of Christian humanism extending back to Edmund Burke, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, G. K. Chesterton, and Hilaire Belloc. Educated by Irving Babbitt and George Santayana at Harvard University, Eliot was friends with Allen Tate and Russell Kirk.
Praised by T. S. Eliot as the most powerful intellectual influence in Britain, historian Christopher Dawson is a key figure in 20th-century traditionalism. Central to his work was the idea that religion was at the heart of every culture, especially Western culture, and his writings, including The Age of Gods (1928), Religion and Culture (1948), and Religion and the Rise of Western Culture (1950), reflected this view. A contributor to Eliot's Criterion, Dawson believed that after World War II, religion and culture were central to rebuilding the West in the wake of fascism and the rise of communism.
The 18th Century
In terms of "classical conservatism", the Federalists had no truck with European-style aristocracy, monarchy, or established religion. Historian John P. Diggins says that:
- Thanks to the framers, American conservatism began on a genuinely lofty plane. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, John Jay, James Wilson, and, above all, John Adams aspired to create a republic in which the values so precious to conservatives might flourish: harmony, stability, virtue, reverence, veneration, loyalty, self-discipline, and moderation. This was classical conservatism in its most authentic expression.
Something akin to Burkean traditionalism was transported to the American colonies through the policies and principles of the Federalist Party and its leadership as embodied by John Adams and Alexander Hamilton. Federalists strongly opposed the French Revolution, defended traditional Christian morality, and supported a new "natural aristocracy" based on "property, education, family status, and sense of ethical responsibility."
John Adams was one of the earliest defenders of a traditional social order in Revolutionary America. In his Defence of the Constitution (1787) Adams attacked the ideas of radicals like Thomas Paine, who advocated for a unicameral legislature (Adams deemed it too democratic). His translation of Discourses on Davila (1790), which also contained his own commentary, was an examination of "human motivation in politics". Adams believed that human motivation inevitably led to dangerous impulses where the government would need to sometimes intervene.
The leader of the Federalist Party was Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury and co-author of The Federalist Papers (1787–1788) which was then and to this day remains a major interpretation of the new 1789 Constitution. Hamilton was critical of both Jeffersonian classical liberalism and the radical ideas coming out of the French Revolution. He rejected laissez-faire economics and favored a strong central government.
The 19th Century
In the era after the Revolutionary Generation, the Whig Party had an approach that resembled Burkean conservatism, although Whigs rarely cited Burke. Whig statesmen led the charge for tradition and custom against the prevailing democratic ethos of the Jacksonian Era. Standing for hierarchy and organic society, in many ways their concepts of the Union paralleled Benjamin Disraeli's "One Nation Conservatism".
Along with Henry Clay, the most noteworthy Whig statesman was Boston's Daniel Webster. A firm Unionist, his most famous speech was his "Second Reply to Hayne" (1829) where he criticized the argument from Southerners such as John C. Calhoun that the states had a right to nullify the Constitution and therefore were more important than the federal republic as a whole. Webster rarely mentioned Burke but he occasionally followed similar lines of thought.
Webster's intellectual and political heir was Rufus Choate, who admired Burke. Choate was a part of the emerging legal culture in New England, centered on the newly formed Harvard Law School. He believed that lawyers were preservers and conservers of the Constitution and that it was the duty of the educated to govern political institutions. Choate's most famous address was "The Position and Functions of the American Bar, as an Element of Conservatism in the State" (1845).
George Ticknor, a Dartmouth-educated academic at Harvard, was the chief purveyor of humane learning in the Boston area. A founder of the Boston Public Library and the scion of an old Federalist family, Ticknor educated his students in Romance languages and the works of Dante and Cervantes at home while promoting America abroad to his many international friends, including Lord Byron and Talleyrand.
Edward Everett, like Ticknor, was educated at the same German university (Goettigen). He advocated for the U.S. to follow same virtues as the ancient Greeks and eventually went into politics as a Whig. A firm Unionist (like his friend Daniel Webster), Everett deplored the Jacksonian Democracy that swept the nation. A famed orator in his own right, he supported Lincoln against Southern secession.
American Catholic journalist and political theorist (and former political and religious radical) Orestes Brownson is best known for writing The American Republic, an 1865 treatise examining how America fulfills Catholic tradition and Western Civilization. Brownson was critical of both the Northern abolitionists and the Southern secessionists and was himself a solid Unionist.
The 20th Century
In the 20th century traditionalist conservatism on both sides of the Atlantic centered on two publications: The Bookman and its successor, The American Review. Owned and edited by the eccentric Seward Collins, these journals published the writings of the British Distributists, the New Humanists, the Southern Agrarians, T. S. Eliot, Christopher Dawson, et al. Eventually, Collins drifted towards support of fascism, and as a result lost the support of many of his traditionalist backers. Despite the decline of the journal due to Collins' increasingly radical political views, The American Review left a profound mark on the history of traditionalist conservatism.
Another intellectual branch of early-20th-century traditionalist conservatism was known as the New Humanism. Led by Harvard University professor Irving Babbitt and Princeton University professor Paul Elmer More, the New Humanism was a literary and social criticism movement that opposed both romanticism and naturalism. Beginning in the late 19th century, the New Humanism defended artistic standards and "first principles" (Babbitt's phrase). Reaching an apogee in 1930, Babbitt and More published a variety of books including Babbitt's Literature and the American College (1908), Rousseau and Romanticism (1919), and Democracy and Leadership (1924) and More's Shelburne Essays (1904–1921).
One other group of traditionalist conservatives were the Southern Agrarians. Originally a group of Vanderbilt University poets and writers known as "the Fugitives", they included John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Donald Davidson, and Robert Penn Warren. Adhering to strict literary standards (Warren and traditionalist scholar Cleanth Brooks later formulated a form of literary criticism known as the New Criticism), in 1930 some of the Fugitives joined other traditionalist Southern writers to publish I'll Take My Stand, which applied standards sympathetic to local particularism and the agrarian way of life to politics and economics. Condemning northern industrialism and commercialism, the "twelve southerners" who contributed to the book echoed earlier arguments made by the distributists. A few years after the publication of I'll Take My Stand, some of the Southern Agrarians were joined by Hilaire Belloc and Herbert Agar in the publication of a new collection of essays entitled Who Owns America: A New Declaration of Independence.
Other traditionalist conservative influences on those who emerged in the 1940s and 1950s as "the New Conservatives" included Bernard Iddings Bell, Gordon Keith Chalmers, Grenville Clark, Peter Drucker, Will Herberg, and Ross J. S. Hoffman.
Traditionalism in the United States
Revival of conservative cultural criticism
The new conservatives
After the Second World War the first stirrings of a "traditionalist movement" took place. Among those who launched this movement (and in effect the larger Conservative Movement in America) was University of Chicago professor Richard M. Weaver. Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences (1948) chronicled the steady erosion of Western cultural values since the Middle Ages. In 1949, another professor, Peter Viereck echoed the writings of Weaver with his Conservatism Revisited, which examined the conservative thought of Prince Klemens Metternich.
After Weaver and Viereck a flowering of conservative scholarship occurred starting with the publication of 1953's The New Science of Politics by Eric Voegelin, 1953's The Quest for Community by Robert A. Nisbet, and 1955's Conservatism in America by Clinton Rossiter. However, the book that defined the traditionalist school was 1953's The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, written by Russell Kirk, which gave a detailed analysis of the intellectual pedigree of Anglo-American traditionalist conservatism.
When these thinkers appeared on the academic scene they became known for rebuking the progressive worldview inherent in an America comfortable with New Deal economics, a burgeoning military-industrial complex, and a consumerist and commercialized citizenry. These conservative scholars and writers garnered the attention of the popular press of the time and before long they were collectively referred to as "the New Conservatives". Among this group were not only Weaver, Viereck, Voegelin, Nisbet, Rossiter, and Kirk but other lesser known thinkers such as John Blum, Daniel Boorstin, McGeorge Bundy, Thomas Cook, Raymond English, John Hallowell, Anthony Harrigan, August Heckscher, Milton Hindus, Klemens von Klemperer, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Richard Leopold, S. A. Lukacs, Malcolm Moos, Eliseo Vivas, Geoffrey Wagner, Chad Walsh, and Francis Wilson as well as Arthur Bestor, Mel Bradford, C. P. Ives, Stanley Jaki, John Lukacs, Forrest McDonald, Thomas Molnar, Gerhard Neimeyer, James V. Schall, S.J., Peter J. Stanlis, Stephen J. Tonsor, and Frederick Wilhelmsen.
The acknowledged leader of the New Conservatives was independent scholar, writer, critic, and man of letters Russell Kirk. Kirk was a key figure of the conservative movement: he was a friend to William F. Buckley, Jr., a columnist for National Review, an editor and a syndicated columnist, and a historian and horror fiction writer. His most famous work was 1953's The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Santayana (later republished as The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot). Kirk's writings and legacy are interwoven with the history of traditionalist conservatism, with his influence felt at the Heritage Foundation, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and other conservative think tanks (most especially the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal).
The Conservative Mind was written by Kirk as a doctoral dissertation while he was a student at the St. Andrews University in Scotland. Previously the author of a biography of American conservative John Randolph of Roanoke, Kirk's The Conservative Mind had laid out six "canons of conservative thought" in the book, including:
- Belief that a divine intent rules society as well as conscience... Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems.
- Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and egalitarian and utilitarian aims of most radical systems.
- Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes...
- Persuasion that property and freedom are inseparably connected, and that economic leveling is not economic progress...
- Faith in prescription and distrust of "sophisters and calculators." Man must put a control upon his will and his appetite.... Tradition and sound prejudice provide checks upon man's anarchic impulse.
- Recognition that change and reform are not identical...
Kirk goes on to examine the thought of a wide array of conservative thinkers, including Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke, American Federalists John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, British literati Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, Southern conservatives John Randolph of Roanoke and John Calhoun, American Catholic political thinker Orestes Brownson, New England writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, British Catholic John Henry Newman, American historian Henry Adams, scholars Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, and George Santayana, and Anglo-American poet and literary critic T. S. Eliot.
A traditionalist counter-establishment
The New Conservatives also contributed to the emerging conservative movement and formed a traditionalist counter-establishment, creating and expanding traditionalist organizations and forming new journals and publications. Many traditionalists were contributors to William F. Buckley's National Review, including Russell Kirk and others. The 1950s and early 1960s resulted in a traditionalist "renaissance" and laid the foundation for future traditionalist efforts to succeed.
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Among the organizations formed in the wake of traditionalist scholarship and public activity was Frank Chodorov's libertarian-leaning student organization, the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists. The organization, formed in 1953, quickly changed philosophy from being an academic organization based in individualist principles to one of a more traditionalist bent, largely due to the efforts of E. Victor Milione. Eventually the organization changed its name to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and "educated for liberty" via the thought of such traditionalists as Richard M. Weaver and Russell Kirk. Through Kirk's influence (as well as other well known conservatives) it has been a center for traditionalist students, hosting lectures, symposiums, conferences, and debates and publishing journals such as Modern Age (periodical), The Intercollegiate Review, The Chesterton Review and The University Bookman as well as a variety of books by traditionalist scholars through its imprint, ISI Books. The president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute was for many years T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr..
Modern Age: A Quarterly Review
In 1957 Russell Kirk co-founded (with publisher Henry Regnery) Modern Age, a conservative academic quarterly which for over fifty years has remained traditionalist in scope and has published various thinkers, such as Max Picard, Andrew Lytle, Richard M. Weaver, Robert A. Nisbet, C. P. Ives, Ross Hoffman, and others. Historian George H. Nash has referred to Modern Age as "the principal quarterly of the intellectual right." Current Associate Editors include George W. Carey, Jude P. Dougherty, Jeffrey Hart, Thomas Molnar, Marion Montgomery, Mordecai Roshwald, Peter J. Stanlis, and Stephen J. Tonsor. Russell Kirk was its editor for its first two years and from 1984 to 2007 its editor was literary critic George A. Panichas. The journal is now edited by R. V. Young, who also serves as a contributor to another traditionalist publication, Touchstone Magazine.
The University Bookman
In 1960 Kirk founded the oldest continuously published conservative review of books: The University Bookman. It is published by Annette Y. Kirk and Dr. Jeffrey O. Nelson and is edited by New York attorney Gerald J. Russello, who is a Kirk biographer and a Fellow at the G. K. Chesterton Institute. Its Board of Advisors include H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Vice President for College Advancement and Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Brewton–Parker College; Dr. William Edmund Fahey, the President of the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts; Bruce Frohnen, Associate Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University, Pettit College of Law and Senior Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center; and Gary L. Gregg, Mitch McConnell Chair in Leadership at the University of Louisville and director of the McConnell Center.
The Philadelphia Society
Another traditionalist organization to appear was an intellectual forum called the Philadelphia Society. Similar in scope to the libertarian Mont Pelerin Society, the Philadelphia Society organized conferences where leading traditionalists could gather, exchange ideas and lecture on topics and issues vital to the preservation of the American Republic and the conservative movement. To this day it is the leading intellectual organization of the traditionalist Right.
Renewal and consolidation
After the intellectual pioneering of the New Conservatives and the creation of the conservative counter-establishment, younger scholars and academics came to the fore, expanding and consolidating the traditionalist presence in the larger conservative movement and contributing to the further renewal of traditionalist scholarship. These scholars and academics could be deemed the "Conservators", or the keepers of the flame of conservatism as the upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s approached.
The second generation: the "conservators"
This second generation appeared at a time when American society was experiencing the change and tumult of the "60's": the rising counterculture and the New Left, the emergence of the protest movement and race riots, the war in Vietnam, and then the crisis of Nixon and Watergate and the "malaise" of Jimmy Carter's presidency. These "conservators" contributed in turn to preserving culture and educational renewal while simultaneously creating organizations and journals which would further the cause of traditionalist conservatism. Writers and thinkers of this caliber included political scientist George W. Carey, moralist and literary critic George A. Panichas, Swedish-American thinker Claes G. Ryn, Catholic Chestertonian Fr. Ian Boyd, C.S.B., historian Forrest McDonald, and others. These new thinkers would join the New Conservatives and the first generation of traditionalists in leading the charge against radicalism and defend American institutions into the Reagan Era.
Carey, McClellan and The Political Science Reviewer
In 1973 political scientist George W. Carey and James McClellan created "an annual review of books in the field of political science" entitled The Political Science Reviewer. Its current editor is Bruce Frohnen and it is published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Boyd, The Chesterton Review and the G. K. Chesterton Institute
In 1974 Canadian Catholic priest Rev. Ian Boyd, C.S.B. created a quarterly journal for the International Chesterton Society. Called The Chesterton Review, the publication "is dedicated to the exploration of the life and works of G.K. Chesterton and other writers who share a commitment to Chestertonian principles". The Review originally was based out of a Canadian college and then transferred to Seton Hall University, where it came under the aegis of the G. K. Chesterton Institute for the Study for Faith and Culture. Among those who were the co-founders of the Institute were historian Dermot Quinn, editor and author Stratford Caldecott, and then ISI vice president Jeffrey O. Nelson.
Intercollegiate Review Symposium
1986 brought traditionalist reaction to Reagan Era conservatism in the form of a symposium in The Intercollegiate Review. Referred to as "the state of conservatism", the symposium featured traditionalist scholars such as Mel Bradford, Paul Gottfried, Clyde Wilson, George A. Panichas, Gregory Wolfe, Russell Kirk, Gerhart Niemeyer, and George W. Carey. The symposium looked at the rise of neoconservatives in the conservative movement and the centralization of Republican power in Washington in the Reagan Era.
Ryn, The National Humanities Institute and Humanitas
In the 1980s traditionalist scholar Claes G. Ryn and Joseph Baldacchino founded the National Humanities Institute, a center for the study of the humanities from the conservative perspective which also publishes a bi-annual journal Humanitas. Noted traditionalist scholars who serve on NHI's Academic Board include George W. Carey, Jude P. Dougherty, and Peter J. Stanlis. The National Humanities Institute also operates the Center for Constitutional Studies and the Irving Babbitt Project.
The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal
In the mid-1990s, after the death of Russell Kirk, the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal was founded by Kirk's widow, Annette Y. Kirk, and son-in-law, Dr. Jeffrey O. Nelson, to carry on his legacy. The Center offers seminars and residential fellowships and have a publishing arm. The Center also has an affiliate, the Edmund Burke Society of America, whose director is Dr. Ian Crowe.
The torch is passed
In the 1980s and 1990s a new generation came on the political scene to continue the traditionalist conservatives' work. As New Conservative scholars such as Russell Kirk and Robert Nisbet began to pass on, and the second generation of "conservators" came to the fore the torch was also passed to members of the Baby Boom. This third generation, which could be referred to as the "Counter-Revolutionaries" fought to renew education and culture as the Culture Wars heated up and political correctness and multiculturalism emerged as new threats to conservative principles.
The third generation: the "counter-revolutionaries"
Of the same generation as those Baby Boomers who protested and radicalized American society in the 1960s and 1970s, the third generation of traditionalists brought with them insight into the arts, in revitalizing Christianity, and opposing abortion and same-sex marriage. Like their predecessors, these counter-revolutionary traditionalists sought to engage society through the creation of new organizations and publications and roll back the "revolution" that their more radical generational peers had wrought. Such scholars and thinkers as James Kushiner, Gregory Wolfe, Allan C. Carlson, H. Lee Cheek, Jr., W. Wesley McDonald and others represented this next generation of traditionalists.
Kushiner and Touchstone Magazine
Beginning as a newsletter in the Chicago area in 1986, Touchstone Magazine was founded by James Kushiner as a publication to unite Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic traditionalists. The journal received specific support from traditionalist icon Russell Kirk in the early 1990s. Contributors include Rod Dreher, R. V. Young, Allan C. Carlson, and Anthony Esolen.
Wolfe and Image Journal
Carlson and The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society
A few years later the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, a socially conservative advocacy organization, was created by John Howard and Allan C. Carlson. Howard was the founder of the paleoconservative Rockford Institute and Carlson was its former president.
The restoration of tradition and community in the 21st century
As the conservative movement consolidated itself in the 1980s under the Reagan presidency, found itself in healthy opposition to the Bush and Clinton Eras, and came into the presidency of George W. Bush, a new crop of traditionalists, who could be labeled the "neo-traditionalists" appeared. With the advent of the 9/11 attacks and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan commenced, the Old Guard traditionalists came to criticize the larger conservative movement for its populism and nationalism and were joined in these sentiments by the neo-traditionalists who also, in essence, sought the restoration of tradition and community in the 21st century.
The fourth generation: the "neo-traditionalists"
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Echoing the sentiments of the older generation of traditionalists, the fourth generation would also expand the traditionalist arguments into the digital era, taking to blogs and websites to get their message out, a message of communitarian and family-centered values, of limits on government power, and of the necessity of organic society and a sense of roots and of place. Consisting of such figures as Dr. James Matthew Wilson, Jeremy Beer, Mike C. Harmer, Jeffrey O. Nelson, Mark C. Henrie, Caleb Stegall, Rod Dreher, Daniel Larison, and others, these traditionlists, largely from Generation X, proved to be a vanguard against both the progressives and the mainstream conservatives who were dominated by the neoconservatives and the Religious Right.
Other traditionalist organizations
Other traditionalist organizations include the Trinity Forum, Ellis Sandoz's Eric Voegelin Institute and the Eric Voegelin Society, the New Centurion Program of the Conservative Institute, the T. S. Eliot Society, the Malcolm Muggeridge Society, and the Free Enterprise Institute's Center for the American Idea. A major funder of traditionalist programs, especially the Russell Kirk Center, is the Wilbur Foundation.
Literary traditionalist are often linked with political conservatives and the right-wing, while contrasted with experimental works and the avant-garde, which in turn are often linked with progressives and the left-wing. Postmodern writer and literary theorist John Barth, said "I confess to missing, in apprentice seminars in the later 1970s and the 1980s, that lively Make-It-New spirit of the Buffalo Sixties. A roomful of young traditionalists can be as depressing as a roomful of young Republicans."
There are numerous literary figures featured in Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind (1953), including James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Russell Lowell, W. H. Mallock, Robert Frost, and T. S. Eliot. In Kirk's The Conservative Reader (1982) the writings of Rudyard Kipling and Phyllis McGinley are featured as examples of literary traditionalism. Russell Kirk was also known himself as a writer of supernatural and suspense fiction with a distinct Gothic flair. Novels such as Old House of Fear, A Creature of the Twilight, and Lord of the Hollow Dark and short stories such as "Lex Talionis", "Lost Lake", "Beyond the Stumps", "Ex Tenebris", and "Fate's Purse" gained praise from fiction writers such as Ray Bradbury and Madeleine L'Engle. Kirk was also good friends with many literary figures of the 20th century: T. S. Eliot, Roy Campbell, Wyndham Lewis, Ray Bradbury, Madeleine L'Engle, and Flannery O'Connor, most of whom could be labeled traditionalist in their poetry or fiction.
British and European connections
Although not a conservative, many traditionalist conservatives embrace the virtue-centered philosophy of British Roman Catholic philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, who is noted for his many books, including After Virtue (1981).
Another British philosopher, Roger Scruton, is a self-described traditionalist conservative. Known for writing on such topics as foreign policy, animal rights, arts and culture, and philosophy, one of his most noted books is The Meaning of Conservatism (1980). Scruton is affiliated with the Center for European Renewal, the Trinity Forum, the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, and the American Enterprise Institute. He writes for such publications as Modern Age (periodical), National Review, The American Spectator, The New Criterion, and City Journal.
Recently British philosopher Phillip Blond has risen to prominence as an exponent of traditionalist philosophy, more specifically progressive conservatism, or Red Toryism. In Blond's view, Red Toryism would combine civic communitarianism with localism and traditional values as a way to revitalize British conservatism and British society. He has formed a think tank, Res Publica.
The Salisbury Review
The oldest traditionalist conservative publication in the United Kingdom is the Salisbury Review, which was founded by British philosopher Roger Scruton. The Salisbury Review's current managing editor is Merrie Cave.
British political organizations
The Cornerstone Group
Within the British Conservative Party there is a faction of traditionalist MPs which formed in 2005 who are collectively known as the Cornerstone Group. The Cornerstone Group stands for traditional values and represents "faith, flag, and family". Prominent members include Edward Leigh and John Henry Hayes.
European educational organizations
The Edmund Burke Foundation
The Edmund Burke Foundation is an educational foundation based out of the Netherlands which is traditionalist and is modeled after the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Originally a think tank, it was founded by such traditionalists as scholar Andreas Kinneging and journalist Bart Jan Spruyt. It is affiliated with The Center for European Renewal.
The Center for European Renewal
In 2007 a number of leading traditionalist scholars from Europe as well as representatives of the Edmund Burke Foundation and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute created the Center for European Renewal. The Center is designed to be the European version of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Traditionalist conservatism and politics
The Goldwater movement
Bozell, Kirk, and the campaigns of 1960 and 1964
In 1964 conservatives around the nation, especially the New Right represented by the National Review magazine, were united behind the presidential campaign of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. Goldwater had first come to the attention of the public by way of The Conscience of a Conservative, a book ghostwritten for him by L. Brent Bozell Jr. (William F. Buckley, Jr.'s Catholic traditionalist brother-in-law). The book advocated a conservative vision in keeping with Buckley's National Review and propelled Goldwater to unsuccessfully challenge Vice President Richard Nixon for the 1960 Republican presidential nomination.
In 1964 Goldwater returned to challenge the Eastern Establishment, which since the 1930s had controlled the Republican Party. In a brutal campaign where he was maligned by liberal Republican primary rivals (Rockefeller, Romney, Scranton, etc.), the press, the Democrats, and President Lyndon B. Johnson, Goldwater again found allies among conservatives, including the traditionalists. Russell Kirk championed Goldwater's cause as the maturation of the New Right in American politics. Kirk advocated for Goldwater in his syndicated columns and campaigned for him in the primaries. Goldwater's subsequent defeat would result in the New Right regrouping and finding a new figurehead in the late 1970s: Ronald Reagan.
Traditionalists in the Reagan era
Most traditionalists were enthusiastic supporters of former California Governor Ronald Reagan when he became president, even when he appointed William J. Bennett over Mel Bradford for a National Endowment for the Humanities post.
T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr., who was for many years the president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, was Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs in the Reagan Administration, serving as President Reagan’s top advisor on domestic matters. Earlier in the administration he held the position of Counselor to the Attorney General.
Traditionalist scholar Russell Kirk was given the Presidential Citizens Medal in 1989.
Leading contemporary traditionalist statesmen
Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham was influenced by Russell Kirk.
Former Tennessee Republican Senator Fred Thompson, former Michigan Republican Senator Spencer Abraham, and former Illinois Democratic Senator Paul Simon have all been influenced by traditionalist conservative Russell Kirk. Thompson gave an interview about Kirk's influence on the Russell Kirk Center's blog.
Among the U.S. Congressmen influenced by Kirk are former Illinois Republican Congressman Henry Hyde and Michigan Republican Congressmen Thaddeus McCotter and Dave Camp, the latter two of whom visited the Russell Kirk Center in 2009. In 2010 then-Congressman Mike Pence acknowledged Russell Kirk as a major influence.
Former Michigan Republican Governor John Engler is a close personal friend of the Russell Kirk family and also serves as a trustee of the Wilbur Foundation, which funds programs at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in Mecosta, Michigan. Engler gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation on Kirk which is available from the Russell Kirk Center's blog.
Traditionalism in higher education
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Russell Kirk Conference
On April 14, 2007 the Intercollegiate Studies Institute hosted a National Leadership Conference entitled "Russell Kirk and the Prospects for American Conservatism". The event was held at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis, Indiana and featured such speakers as Ted V. McAllister, Michael P. Federici, George H. Nash, Dermot Quinn, and Rod Dreher.
U.K. distributist conference
On July 11, 2009 a conference on the "distributist view of the global economic crisis" sponsored by the G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture was held in the United Kingdom at Oxford University featuring an international panel, including Red Tory theorist Phillip Blond and American author and scholar Allan C. Carlson. It marked a milestone for traditionalism since it was the first public forum for Blond to connect his progressive conservative/Red Tory philosophy with other traditionalists who favored the communitarianism that the distributists advocated.
Edmund Burke revival conference
In the wake of the defeat of the Republican Party in the 2008 U.S. election by Barack Obama and the Democratic Party the conservative movement has undergone some self-examination as to its future direction. Part of that self-examination has included a revival of the principles of conservative founding father Edmund Burke. In late October 2009 the Intercollegiate Studies Institute hosted an Edmund Burke Revival Conference at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal which included such speakers as Dr. George H. Nash, Dr. Peter J. Stanlis, and Dr. Ian Crowe.
Phillip Blond's visit to America
In March 2010 British Red Tory philosopher and Res Publica think tank director Phillip Blond came to the United States at the invitation of the American traditionalist blog, Front Porch Republic. Blond first lectured and attended a round table discussion at Georgetown University's Tocqueville Forum, where he was introduced by the Forum's Dr. Patrick Deneen, a Front Porch Republic contributor. The round table discussion included comments from traditionalist journalists Ross Douthat of the New York Times and Daniel McCarthy of The American Conservative, as well as the Templeton Foundation's Rod Dreher, and others. Deneen moderated the round table.
From the Georgetown event Blond attended another event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was the first formal event in the United States between Blond, a British traditionalist who is an advisor to British MP David Cameron, and the leading public figures of the growing American "neo-traditionalist" movement.
Related political philosophies
The Neoreactionary movement is similar to traditionalist conservativism.
Related institutions and publications
- Center for European Renewal
- Cornerstone Group
- Edmund Burke Foundation
- Family Research Council
- Hillsdale College
- Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society
- Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- McConnell Center
- National Humanities Institute
- Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal
- Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
- Trinity Forum
- George Mason University
- Brigham Young University
- University of Notre Dame
- The American Conservative
- The Chesterton Review
- First Things
- Front Porch Republic
- The Imaginative Conservative
- Modern Age
- Salisbury Review
- Touchstone Magazine
- Spencer Abraham (b. 1952)
- John Adams (1735–1826)
- John Quincy Adams (1767–1848)
- Fisher Ames (1758–1808)
- John Calhoun (1782–1850)
- Dave Camp (b. 1953)
- John Engler (b. 1948)
- Alexander Hamilton (1755 or 1757–1804)
- Henry Hyde (1924–2007)
- John Marshall (1755–1835)
- John Randolph of Roanoke (1773–1833)
- Paul Simon (1928–2003)
- Caleb Stegall (b. 1971)
- Daniel Webster (1782–1852)
- James Wilson (1742–1798)
- Robert Winthrop (1809–1894)
- Perrin Beatty (b. 1950)
- R. B. Bennett (1870–1947)
- Sir Robert Borden (1854–1937)
- Henri Bourassa (1868–1952)
- Dalton Camp (1920–2002)
- Bill Davis (b. 1929)
- John Diefenbaker (1895–1979)
- Maurice Duplessis (1890–1959)
- John Farthing (1897–1954)
- Davie Fulton (1916–2000)
- Armand Lavergne (1880–1935)
- Sir John A. Macdonald (1815–1891)
- Hugh Segal (b. 1950)
- Robert Stanfield (1914–2003)
Philosophers and scholars
- Irving Babbitt (1865–1933)
- Andrew Bacevich (b. 1947)
- Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953)
- Daniel Boorstin (1914–2004)
- Phillip Blond (b. 1966)
- Mel Bradford (1934–1993)
- Martin Buber (1878–1965)
- Edmund Burke (1729–1797)
- Allan C. Carlson (b. 1949)
- T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr. (b. 1948)
- Christopher Dawson (1889–1970)
- Donald Davidson (1893–1968)
- Francisco Elías de Tejada y Spínola (1917–1978)
- Edward Feser (b. 1968)
- Bruce Frohnen
- Rafael Gambra Ciudad (1920–2004)
- Eugene Genovese (1930–2012)
- Paul Gottfried (b. 1941)
- Gary L. Gregg (b. 1967)
- Jeffrey Hart (b. 1930)
- Will Herberg (1901–1977)
- Irving Louis Horowitz (1929–2012)
- Carol Iannone
- Stanley Jaki (1924–2009)
- Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903–1987)
- Andreas Kinneging (b. 1962)
- Russell Kirk (1918–1994)
- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909–1999)
- James Kurth
- John Lukacs (b. 1924)
- Andrew Lytle (1902–1995)
- Alasdair MacIntyre (b. 1929)
- W. Wesley McDonald (1946–2014)
- Forrest McDonald (b. 1927)
- Thomas Molnar (1921–2010)
- Marion Montgomery (1925–2011)
- Paul Elmer More (1864–1937)
- Robert A. Nisbet (1913–1996)
- Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990)
- Joseph Pearce (b. 1961)
- Max Picard (1888–1965)
- Víctor Pradera Larumbe (1873–1936)
- Mordecai Roshwald (b. 1921)
- Clinton Rossiter (1917–1970)
- Claes G. Ryn (b. 1943)
- Ellis Sandoz (b. 1931)
- Roger Scruton (b. 1944)
- James Seaton
- David Stove (1927–1994)
- R. J. Stove (b. 1961)
- Bruce Thornton (b. 1543)
- Juan Vázquez de Mella (1861–1926)
- Eric Voegelin (1901–1985)
- Peter Viereck (1916–2006)
- Austin Warren (1899–1986)
- Richard M. Weaver (1910–1963)
- Frederick Wilhelmsen (1923–1996)
- R. V. Young (b. 1947)
- Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)
- Ray Bradbury (1920–2012)
- Roy Campbell (1901–1957)
- Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)
- G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936)
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
- James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851)
- T. S. Eliot (1888–1965)
- Robert Frost (1874–1963)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864)
- Florence King (1936–2016)
- Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)
- Madeleine L'Engle (1918–2007)
- Wyndham Lewis (1882–1957)
- James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)
- W. H. Mallock (1849–1923)
- Phyllis McGinley (1905–1978)
- Flannery O'Connor (1925–1964)
- John Ruskin (1819–1900)
- J.R.R. Tolkien (1892–1973)
- Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966)
- William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
Journalists and commentators
- Lawrence Auster (1949–2013)
- Patrick J. Buchanan (b. 1938)
- William F. Buckley (1925–2008)
- Charles A. Coulombe (b. 1960)
- Ross Douthat (b. 1979)
- Rod Dreher (b. 1967)
- Mary Eberstadt
- Thomas Fleming (b. 1945)
- John T. Flynn (1882–1964)
- Lionel Groulx (1878–1967)
- Peter Hitchens (b. 1951)
- Bill Kauffman (b. 1959)
- Bart Jan Spruyt (b. 1964)
- George Will (b. 1941)
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson, ed. (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 870–75.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson, ed. (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 870.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 107–09.
- Kirk, Russell (1967, 1997) Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 154.
- Kirk, Russell (1976, 1997) Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 155
- Blum, Christopher Olaf, ed. (2004)Critics of the Enlightenment, Wilington, DE: ISI Books, pp. xv–xxxv.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006)Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, pp. 87–95.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006)Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, pp. 34–37.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006)Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, pp. 37–39.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006)Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, pp. 39–40.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006)Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, p. 40.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006) Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, pp. 40–41.
- Viereck, pp. 42–45.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 235–36.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 263–66.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 219–20.
- John P. Diggins (1994). Up from Communism. Columbia UP. p. 390. ISBN 9780231084895.
- Viereck, p. 89
- Patrick Allitt, The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History (Yale University Press, 2009) p. 12
- Frohnen, pp. 369–70.
- Frohnen, pp. 906–08.
- Craig R. Smith (2005). Daniel Webster and the Oratory of Civil Religion. University of Missouri Press. p. 45. ISBN 9780826264299.
- Rufus Choate (2002). The Political Writings of Rufus Choate. Regnery Gateway. p. 6. ISBN 9780895261540.
- Muller, Jerry Z., ed. Conservatism: An Anthology of Social and Political Thought from David Hume to the Present (Princeton University, 1997) pp. 152–66.
- Allitt, Patrick. (2009) The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 62–63.
- Allitt, Patrick. (2009) The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 63–64.
- Allitt, Patrick. (2009) The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 83–86.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 76–77.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 621–22.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 798–99.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006) Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, p. 107.
- Nash, George H. (1976, 2006)The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 30–36.
- Dunn, Charles W. (2003)The Conservative Tradition in America, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, p. 10.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006) Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishing, p. 107.
- Nash, George H. (1976, 2006) The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 50–55, 68–73.
- Kirk, Russell (1953)The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. Washington, D.C.:Regnery, pp. 7–8.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 436–438.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, pp. 883–884.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 665.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 142.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 143.
- First Principles
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 758.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 472.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 867.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 422.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, p. 409.
- John Barth (1984) intro to The Literature of Exhaustion, in The Friday Book.
- Allitt, Patrick. (2009) The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 188.
- Kirk, Russell. (1995) The Sword of Imagination: Memoirs of a Half-Century of Literary Conflict. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., pp. 285–288.
- Person, James E., Jr. Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind. Lanham, MD: Madison Books, p. 217.
- Senator Fred Thompson « Russell Kirk, man of letters
- the grant foundation grants org at wilburfoundation.org
- Michigan Governor John Engler speaks at the Heritage Foundation « Russell Kirk, man of letters
- Upcoming Events – Tocqueville Forum, Georgetown University
- Ellen Grigsby (2009). Analyzing Politics: An Introduction to Political Science. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9780495501121. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
- "Understanding Traditionalist Conservatism" by Mark C. Henrie. The New Pantagruel, formerly published in Varieties of Conservatism in America, Peter Berkowitz, Ed. (Hoover Press, 2004) ISBN 978-0-8179-4572-5.
- Allitt, Patrick (2009) The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- Critchlow, Donald T. (2007) The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Dunn, Charles W., and J. David Woodard (2003) The Conservative Tradition in America. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
- Edwards, Lee (2004) A Brief History of the Modern American Conservative Movement. Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation.
- Frohnen, Bruce, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
- Gottfried, Paul, and Thomas Fleming (1988) The Conservative Movement. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
- Nash, George H. (1976, 2006) The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
- Nisbet, Robert (1986) Conservatism: Dream and Reality. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
- Regnery, Alfred S. (2008) Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism. New York: Threshold Editions.
- Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006) Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
By the "New Conservatives"
- Bestor, Arthur (1953, 1988) Educational Wastelands: The Retreat from Learning in Our Public Schools. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
- Boorstin, Daniel (1953) The Genius of American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Chalmers, Gordon Keith (1952) The Republic and the Person: A Discussion of Necessities in Modern American Education. Chicago: Regnery.
- Hallowell, John (1954, 2007) The Moral Foundation of Democracy. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund Inc.
- Heckscher, August (1947) A Pattern of Politics. New York: Reynal and Hitchcock.
- Kirk, Russell (1953, 2001) The Conservative Mind from Burke to Eliot. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing.
- Kirk, Russell (1982) The Portable Conservative Reader. New York: Penguin.
- Nisbet, Robert (1953, 1990) The Quest for Community: A Study in the Ethics of Order and Freedom. San Francisco: ICS Press.
- Smith, Mortimer (1949) And Madly Teach. Chicago:Henry Regnery Co.
- Viereck, Peter (1949, 2006) Conservatism Revisited: The Revolt Against Ideology. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
- Vivas, Eliseo (1950, 1983) The Moral Life and the Ethical Life. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
- Voegelin, Eric (1952, 1987) The New Science of Politics: An Introduction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Weaver, Richard (1948, 1984) Ideas Have Consequences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Wilson, Francis G. (1951, 1990) The Case for Conservatism. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
By other traditionalist conservatives
- Dreher, Rod (2006) Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-loving Organic Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party). New York: Crown Forum.
- Frohnen, Bruce (1993) Virtue and the Promise of Conservatism: The Legacy of Burke and Tocqueville. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
- Henrie, Mark C. (2008) Arguing Conservatism: Four Decades of the Intercollegiate Review. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
- Kushiner, James M., Ed. (2003) Creed and Culture: A Touchstone Reader. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
- MacIntyre, Alaisdar (1981, 2007) After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
- Panichas, George A., Ed. (1988) Modern Age: The First Twenty-Five Years: A Selection. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc.
- Panichas, George A. (2008) Restoring the Meaning of Conservatism: Writings from Modern Age. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
- Scruton, Roger (1980, 2002) The Meaning of Conservatism. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press.
- Scruton, Roger (2012) Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet. Atlantic Books
About traditionalist conservatives
- Duffy, Bernard K. and Martin Jacobi (1993) The Politics of Rhetoric: Richard M. Weaver and the Conservative Tradition. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press.
- Federici, Michael P. (2002) Eric Voegelin: The Restoration of Order. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
- Gottfried, Paul (2009) Encounters: My Life with Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
- Kirk, Russell (1995) The Sword of Imagination: Memoirs of a Half-Century of Literary Conflict. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman's Publishing Co.
- Langdale, John., (2012) Superfluous Southerners: Cultural Conservatism and the South, 1920–1990. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.
- McDonald, W. Wesley (2004) Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.
- Person, James E., Jr. (1999) Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind. Lanham, MD: Madison Books.
- Russello, Gerald J. (2007) The Postmodern Imagination of Russell Kirk. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.
- Scotchie, Joseph (1997) Barbarians in the Saddle: An Intellectual Biography of Richard M. Weaver. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
- Scotchie, Joseph (1995) The Vision of Richard Weaver. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
- Scruton, Roger (2005) Gentle Regrets: Thoughts From A Life London: Continuum.
- Stone, Brad Lowell (2002) Robert Nisbet: Communitarian Traditionalist. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books.
- Wilson, Clyde (1999) A Defender of Conservatism: M. E. Bradford and His Achievements. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.