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Conservatism in America

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Conservatism in America
Conservatism is a socio-political philosophy which believes in retention of traditional social institutions, in a cultural framework, and acts with a cautious and moderate approach. Conservatives are not orthodox because they believe in changes, but slow and steady dynamism, rather than huge radical leaps and bounds. They believe in continuity and stability. Hence they are traditionalists, but with an open end system of modernism and liberalism. They are right wing people as opposed to leftists. Conservatism is more an attitude than philosophy; it is a deliberate long-term functioning of preserving and promoting a free society to develop human nature to its fullest.
Conservatism of USA in 1980s was the Reagan era, when Ronald Regan was holding the office of President. He was an iconic figure, because he brought changes into US politics, propelling the success of the Republican Party. He integrated economics conservatives, who strengthened his supply side economics. His foreign policy conservatives were with him all throughout, with his opposition stand for Communism and Soviet Union, and his social conservatives who supported his religious and social ideals. The conservatives supported the Regan Doctrine, which involved providing military strength against Soviet Union combat. According to the Conservatives, he won the Cold War, but he was labeled a warmonger by liberals. According to Regan at the core of conservatism, is libertarianism.

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Freedom is gained by placing limitations on the government, and its abuse is prevented by control upon the individual. Hence conservatism plays a very skilled role in achieving this. Islamic militants released hostages after Regan was sworn in the President’s office, due to his ameliorating and conservative policies (Schoenwald 24).
Regan introduced fiscal policies in for stimulating the US economy after a recession in 1981-1982. He also strengthened the military by spending huge amounts on it. As a result, his foreign policy was considered better than domestic policy. Regan was elected at a time when USA was still tottering after the Vietnam War. 1980s was also a time for racial tension, but it was improved a lot by Regan’s conservative stance. Regan’s policies were mainly a policy of reductionism. He wanted to cut down the government size, reduce taxes, but increase military expenditure to strengthen it, and redefine overall morality and character in American society. America is still a model superpower with an exemplary government. The federal structure was also greatly improved (Kim 743).
American lifestyles also showed great changes. Cable TV, compact discs, banking automatic teller machines, personal computers experienced a massive boom. Christian rights were also established. Various Protestant groups like charismatics, Pentecostals, Southern Baptists, and other evangelicals were brought together.
The basic foundations of American Conservatism are liberty or freedom, tradition and order, the rule of law and belief in God. These ideas have their historical foundations, such as Jerusalem, Athens, Rome and London.
American conservatism has its share of inherent contradictions and paradoxes. Conservatives are of 3 kinds-1) free enterprise or economic conservatives 2) pro –church or traditional conservatives 3) pro-military or patriotic conservatives. It was the business elite that had the most predominance, but the Regan administration managed to unite these three together.
Reganomics i.e. the economics of Regan administration had achieved a grand dimension and had managed to unite the whole nation in terms of different sectors. It had proved how a conservative philosophy and an attitude could bring in revolutionary and evolutionary changes within a short time, without a widespread, radical revolution itself.

Work Cited
Kim Phillips-Fein. Conservatism: A State of the Field. Journal of American History. 2011. Print.
Schoenwald, Jonathan M. Time for Choosing : The Rise of Modern American Conservatism.Oxford University Press. 2001. Print.

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