In 1950, literary critic Lionel Trilling wrote that the conservative impulse was at best made up of “irritable mental gestures which seem to resemble ideas.” How times have changed.
Some 50 years later, conservatism is a robust collection of ideas enunciated by top columnist and defended by leading scholars, embodied in powerful think tanks and influential foundations, and personified by political figures at every level of government. The rise and continuing influence of conservative ideas and arguments is one of the most remarkable developments in modern American political history.
How did this come to be? This booklet in the First Principles Series, written by Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at The Heritage Foundation, provides answers to describe the rise of conservative ideals. This booklet contains a brief introductory history of the post-World War II revival of conservative thought that continues to shape our political life today.