Emory Report
September 21, 2009
Volume 62, Number 4


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September 21, 2009
Allitt traces history of American conservatism

By Dana Goldman

As an umbrella term, the word “conservative” has had its problems. From the American Revolution to the modern day, conservatives have rarely agreed on what, precisely, should be conserved. And it wasn’t until the 20th century that many conservative thinkers even wholly identified as conservative.

In “The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities Throughout American History” (Yale University Press, 2009), history professor Patrick Allitt traces the conservative movement, revealing the connections between such disparate historical figures as Abraham Lincoln, Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan. He shows ideological disconnects and internal splits that have surfaced in challenging times, and explores the common threads of belief that have kept the conservative movement intact.

Listen to Allitt talk about what it means – and has meant – to be conservative in the United States.

Excerpts of the new book “The Conservatives"

Allitt on the evolution of conservative thinking in the United States.

· Allitt profiles the conservative (and controversial) thinker Ayn Rand.