Patrick Allitt's The Conservatives: Ideas And Personalities Throughout American History

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In Patrick Allitt’s book “The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History” there was several constant themes throughout the book regarding the rise (and ebb?) of conservativism in the United States. Dr. Allitt quietly apologizes to the reader that his book was limited in its pages and scope. One must suspect that major events like the era of Reagan conservativism could have consumed multiple chapters or volumes. Dr. Allitt provides to the reader various thumbnail sketches of conservative figures during critical junctures in American history. Its chronological order from the Federalist through the beginning of the 21st Century; provides to the reader a basic understanding of how Conservative movement attempt to reshape …show more content…
The conservative is not a reactionary, but one who wishes to bring the country back to the ideals as outlined in the Preamble. Unfortunately, one often views perceptions and actions against his or her standard.
Since there are limitations to the length of this review; I wish to concentration on several areas which I found critical to the foundation of modern Conservatism. The first is, what is a Conservative; second the role of Catholicism in shaping the thought and last what defines “small government” as a Conservative What defines a Conservatist is open to interpretation by the individual and the circumstances. I have found the closest definition of a Conservatist is when some asks a person “What type of wine do you like?” and instead of getting a vintner or an appellation; you get a response like, “You know, the good stuff.” While Conservatism is relativity defined as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were.” Hardly a glowing definition, yet Dr. Allitt repeatedly provides
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The first individual noted in the book was Orestes Brownson. His post-Civil War book, “The American Republic”; Allitt provides us a quote stating that “Catholics are better fitted in their religion to comprehend the Constitution….they study it in light of their own theology.” When rereading the text, I found that the many of the latter half of the 20th Century intellectuals drew heavily on their own Catholic experiences. Individuals like William F. Buckley, James McFadden, and Phyllis Schlafly, who stamped their Catholicism on the Conservative

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