Rise Of Conservatism Essay

1083 Words 5 Pages
Traditional Values, Poverty, and The Rise of Conservatism

The 1960s were a time of great social, economic, and political change in American society. Many social movements emerged that sought to end inequality and injustice through activism and protest but as Layman (1995) indicates, the changes “were often so dramatic that some feared for the American way of life.” These movements resulted in a breakdown of traditional values that created a state of discouragement in society and the decline of liberalism. Controversial issues such as pro-choice abortion rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and the War on Poverty were all in play in the 1960s and were seen by many as causes of the breakdown. The decline of liberalism and the rise of conservativism
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The ERA was a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would guarantee equality between men and women, but it generated strong opposition by conservatives that believed it challenged traditional family values. Foner (2016) indicates that the amendment, “aroused unexpected protest from those who claimed it would discredit the role of wife and homemaker” and in 1972, Phyllis Schlafly created the STOP-ERA campaign to prevent ratification of the gender-equality amendment. Schlafly, a conservative grassroots activist and outspoken opponent to the Equal Rights Amendment, glorified the traditional gender roles in American society and believed that the Equal Rights Amendment would deny men the responsibility of providing for their wives and children. Feminists of the late 1960s and early 1970s believed that ratification of the ERA was the only way to eliminate all gender-based discrimination in the United States but as Williams (2000) indicates, “the ERA was defeated when Schlafly turned it into a war among women over gender roles.” Working women gave limited support to the ERA out of concern that it would undermine protective legislation, such as a reduced workday for women, and thereby reduce or eliminate their ability to effectively care for their families. As Mergel (2016) comments, “In their view, traditional values no longer held sway, and the equality amendment along …show more content…
The “War on Poverty” and its associated reforms became a source of criticism among conservatives because as Ginzberg and Solow (1974) indicate, “These programs more than tripled real federal expenditures on health, education, and welfare, which grew to over 15 percent of the federal budget by 1970.” The conservative argument regarding these programs is that they kept the poor dependent upon them and as Isserman and Kazin (2012) note, “By 1966 even the poor were complaining about the war on poverty” (p.186). Johnson’s antipoverty programs created a rising expectation among the poor that the programs could not alleviate and Isserman and Kazin (2012) indicate that, “Americans who disagreed on just about everything else were united in judging the war on poverty an abject failure” (p.186). Foner (2016) comments that the war on poverty, “did not consider the most direct ways of eliminating poverty…Nor did it address the economic changes that were reducing the number of well-paid manufacturing jobs and leaving poor families in rural areas...and decaying urban ghettos with hope of economic advancement” (p.998). Johnson encountered resistance from conservatives and liberals regarding these programs and how they should be administered. In many respects, the War on Poverty was politically conservative because as Foner (2016) indicates, it “concentrated on equipping the poor with skills

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