The Rise of Conservatism: Crash Course US History #41
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The Rise of Conservatism: Crash Course US History #41


Episode 41: Rise of Conservatism Hi, I’m John Green, this is CrashCourse
U.S. history and today we’re going to–Nixon?–we’re going to talk about the rise of conservatism.
So Alabama, where I went to high school, is a pretty conservative state and reliably sends
Republicans to Washington. Like, both of its Senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby,
are Republicans. But did you know that Richard Shelby used to be a Democrat, just like basically
all of Alabama’s Senators since reconstruction? And this shift from Democrat to Republican
throughout the South is the result of the rise in conservative politics in the 1960s
and 1970s that we are going to talk about today. And along the way, we get to put Richard
Nixon’s head in a jar. Stan just informed me that we don’t actually
get to put Richard Nixon’s head in a jar. It’s just a Futurama joke. And now I’m
sad. So, you’ll remember from our last episode
that we learned that not everyone in the 1960s was a psychedelic rock-listening, war-protesting
hippie. In fact, there was a strong undercurrent of conservative thinking that ran throughout
the 1960s, even among young people. And one aspect of this was the rise of free
market ideology and libertarianism. Like, since the 1950s, a majority of Americans had
broadly agreed that “free enterprise” was a good thing and should be encouraged
both in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Green, Mr. Green, and also in deep space
where no man has gone before? No, MFTP. You’re thinking of the Starship
Enterprise, not free enterprise. And anyway, Me From The Past, have you ever
seen a more aggressively communist television program than “The Neutral Zone” from Star
Trek: The Next Generation’s first season? I don’t think so.
intro Alright so, in the 1950s a growing number
of libertarians argued that unregulated capitalism and individual autonomy were the essence of
American freedom. And although they were staunchly anti-communist, their real target was the
regulatory state that had been created by the New Deal. You know, social security, and
not being allowed to, you know, choose how many pigs you kill, etc.
Other conservatives weren’t libertarians at all but moral conservatives who were okay
with the rules that enforced traditional notions of family and morality. Even if that seemed
like, you know, an oppressive government. For them virtue was the essence of America.
But both of these strands of conservatism were very hostile toward communism and also
to the idea of “big government.” And it’s worth noting that since World War
I, the size and scope of the federal government had increased dramatically.
And hostility toward the idea of “big government” remains the signal feature of contemporary
conservatism. Although very few people actually argue for shrinking the government. Because,
you know, that would be very unpopular. People like Medicare.
But it was faith in the free market that infused the ideology of the most vocal young conservatives
in the 1960s. They didn’t receive nearly as much press
as their liberal counterparts but these young conservatives played a pivotal role in reshaping
the Republican Party, especially in the election of 1964.
The 1964 presidential election was important in American history precisely because it was
so incredibly uncompetitive. I mean, Lyndon Johnson was carrying the torch
of a wildly popular American president who had been assassinated a few months before.
He was never going to lose. And indeed he didn’t. The republican candidate,
Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, was demolished by LBJ.
But the mere fact of Goldwater’s nomination was a huge conservative victory. I mean, he
beat out liberal Republican New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. And yes, there were liberal
Republicans. Goldwater demanded a harder line in the Cold
War, even suggesting that nuclear war might be an option in the fight against communism.
And he lambasted the New Deal liberal welfare state for destroying American initiative and
individual liberty. I mean, why bother working when you could just enjoy life on the dole?
I mean, unemployment insurance allowed anyone in America to become a hundredaire.
But it was his stance on the Cold War that doomed his candidacy. In his acceptance speech,
Goldwater famously declared, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”
Which made it really easy for Johnson to paint Goldwater as an extremist.
In the famous “Daisy” advertisement, Johnson’s supporters countered Goldwater’s campaign
slogan of “in your heart, you know he’s right” with “but in your guts you know
he’s nuts.” So in the end, Goldwater received a paltry
27 million votes to Johnson’s 43 million, and Democrats racked up huge majorities in
both houses of Congress. This hides, however, the significance of the election. Five of
the six states that Goldwater carried were in the Deep South, which had been reliably
democratic, known as the “Solid South,” in fact.
Now, it’s too simple to say that race alone led to the shift from Democratic to the Republican
party in the South because Goldwater didn’t really talk much about race.
But the Democrats, especially under LBJ, became the party associated with defending civil
rights and ending segregation, and that definitely played a role in white southerners’ abandoning
the Democrats, as was demonstrated even more clearly in the 1968 election.
The election of 1968 was a real cluster-Calhoun, I mean, there were riots and there was also
the nomination of Hubert Humphrey, who was very unpopular with the anti-war movement,
and also was named Hubert Humphrey, and that’s just what happened with the Democrats.
But, lost in that picture was the Republican nominee, Richard Milhous Nixon, who was one
of the few candidates in American history to come back and win the presidency after
losing in a previous election. How’d he do it?
Well, it probably wasn’t his charm, but it might have been his patience. Nixon was
famous for his ability to sit and wait in poker games. It made him very successful during
his tour of duty in the South Pacific. In fact, he earned the nickname “Old Iron Butt.”
Plus, he was anti-communist, but didn’t talk a lot about nuking people. And the clincher
was probably that he was from California, which by the late 1960s was becoming the most
populous state in the nation. Nixon won the election, campaigning as the
candidate of the “silent majority” of Americans who weren’t anti-war protesters,
and who didn’t admire free love or the communal ideals of hippies.
And who were alarmed at the rights that the Supreme Court seemed to be expanding, especially
for criminals. This silent majority felt that the rights
revolution had gone too far. I mean, they were concerned about the breakdown in traditional
values and in law and order. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.
Nixon also promised to be tough on crime, which was coded language to whites in the
south that he wouldn’t support civil rights protests. The equation of crime with African
Americans has a long and sordid history in the United States, and Nixon played it up
following a “Southern strategy” to further draw white Democrats who favored segregation
into the Republican ranks. Now, Nixon only won 43% of the vote, but if
you’ve paid attention to American history, you know that you ain’t gotta win a majority
to be the president. He was denied that majority primarily by Alabama
Governor George Wallace, who was running on a pro-segregation ticket and won 13% of the
vote. So 56% of American voters chose candidates
who were either explicitly or quietly against civil rights.
Conservatives who voted for Nixon hoping he would roll back the New Deal were disappointed.
I mean, in some ways the Nixon domestic agenda was just a continuation of LBJ’s Great Society.
This was partly because Congress was still in the hands of Democrats, but also Nixon
didn’t push for conservative programs and he didn’t veto new initiatives. Because
they were popular. And he liked to be popular. So in fact, a number of big government “liberal”
programs began under Nixon. I mean, the environmental movement achieved success with the enactment
of the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board
were created to make new regulations that would protect worker safety and make cars
safer. That’s not government getting out of our
lives, that’s government getting into our cars.
Now, Nixon did abolish the Office of Economic Opportunity, but he also indexed social security
benefits to inflation and he proposed the Family Assistance Plan that would guarantee
a minimum income for all Americans. And, the Nixon years saw some of the most
aggressive affirmative action in American history. LBJ had begun the process by requiring
recipients of federal contracts to have specific numbers of minority employees and timetables
for increasing those numbers. But Nixon expanded this with the Philadelphia
plan, which required federal construction projects to have minority employees. He ended
up attacking this plan after realising that it was wildly unpopular with trade unions,
which had very few black members, but he had proposed it.
And when Nixon had the opportunity to nominate a new Chief Justice to the Supreme Court after
Earl Warren retired in 1969, his choice, Warren Burger was supposed to be a supporter of small
government and conservative ideals, but, just like Nixon, he proved a disappointment in
that regard. Like, in Swan v. Charlotte-Mecklenbug Board
of Education, the court upheld a lower court ruling that required busing of students to
achieve integration in Charlotte’s schools. And then the Burger court made it easier for
minorities to sue for employment discrimination, especially with its ruling in Regents of the
University of California v. Bakke. This upheld affirmative action as a valid governmental
interest, although it did strike down the use of strict quotas in university admissions.
Now, many conservatives didn’t like these affirmative action decisions, but one case
above all others had a profound effect on American politics: Roe v. Wade.
Roe v. Wade established a woman’s right to have an abortion in the first trimester
of a pregnancy as well as a more limited right as the pregnancy progressed. And that decision
galvanized first Catholics and then Evangelical Protestants.
And that ties in nicely with another strand in American conservatism that developed in
the 1960s and 1970s. Let’s go to the ThoughtBubble. Many Americans felt that traditional family
values were deteriorating and looked to conservative republican candidates to stop that slide.
They were particularly alarmed by the continuing success of the sexual revolution, as symbolized
by Roe v. Wade and the increasing availability of birth control.
Statistics tend to back up the claims that traditional family values were in decline
in the 1970s. Like, the number of divorces soared to over one million in 1975 exceeding
the number of first time marriages. The birthrate declined with women bearing 1.7 children during
their lifetimes by 1976, less than half the figure in 1957. Now, of course, many people
would argue that the decline of these traditional values allowed more freedom for women and
for a lot of terrible marriages to end, but that’s neither here nor there.
Some conservatives also complained about the passage in 1972 of Title IX, which banned
gender discrimination in higher education, but many more expressed concern about the
increasing number of women in the workforce. Like, by 1980 40% of women with young children
had been in the workforce, up from 20% in 1960.
The backlash against increased opportunity for women is most obviously seen in the defeat
of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1974, although it passed Congress easily in 1972. Opponents
of the ERA, which rather innocuously declared that equality of rights under the law could
not be abridged on account of sex, argued that the ERA would let men off the hook for
providing for their wives and children, and that working women would lead to the further
breakdown of the family. Again, all the ERA stated was that women and men would have equal
rights under the laws of the United States. But, anyway, some anti-ERA supporters, like
Phyllis Schlafly claimed that free enterprise was the greatest liberator of women because
the purchase of new labor saving devices would offer them genuine freedom in their traditional
roles of wife and mother. Essentially, the vacuum cleaner shall make you free. And those
arguments were persuasive to enough people that the ERA was not ratified in the required
¾ of the United States. Thanks, ThoughtBubble. Sorry if I let my personal
feelings get in the way on that one. Anyway, Nixon didn’t have much to do with the continuing
sexual revolution; it would have continued without him because, you know, skoodilypooping
is popular. But, he was successfully reelected in 1972,
partly because his opponent was the democratic Barry Goldwater, George McGovern.
McGovern only carried one state and it wasn’t even his home state. It was Massachusetts.
Of course. But even though they couldn’t possibly lose,
Nixon’s campaign decided to cheat. In June of 1972, people from Nixon’s campaign broke
into McGovern’s campaign office, possibly to plant bugs. No, Stan, not those kinds of
bugs. Yes. Those. Now, we don’t know if Nixon actually knew
about the activities of the former employees of the amazingly acronym-ed CREEP, that is
the Committee for the Reelection of the President. But this break in at the Watergate hotel eventually
led to Nixon being the first and so far only American president to resign.
What we do know is this: Nixon was really paranoid about his opponents, even the ones
who appealed to 12% of American voters, especially after Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon
Papers to the New York Times in 1971. So, he drew up an enemies list and created
a special investigative unit called the plumbers whose job was to fix toilets. No, it was to
stop leaks. That makes more sense. I’m sorry, Stan, it’s just by then the
toilets in the White House were over 100 years old, I figured they might need some fixing,
but apparently no. Leaking. Nixon also taped all of the conversations
in the Oval Office and these tapes caused a minor constitutional crisis.
So, during the congressional investigation of Watergate, it became known that these tapes
existed, so the special prosecutor demanded copies.
Nixon refused, claiming executive privilege, and the case went all the way to the Supreme
Court, which ruled in U.S. v. Nixon that he had to turn them over. And this is important
because it means that the president is not above the law.
So, what ultimately doomed Nixon was not the break in itself, but the revelations that
he covered it up by authorizing hush money payments to keep the burglars silent and also
instructing the FBI not to investigate the crime.
In August of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommended that articles of impeachment be
drawn up against Nixon for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. But the real crime,
ultimately, was abuse of power, and there’s really no question about whether he was guilty
of that. So, Nixon resigned. Aw man, I was thinking I was going to get
away without a Mystery Document today. The rules here are simple.
I guess the author of the Mystery Document, and lately I’m never wrong.
Alright. Today I am an inquisitor. I believe hyperbole
would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemnness that I feel right now. My faith
in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and
be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
Aw. I’m going to get shocked today. Is it Sam Ervin? Aw dang it! Gah!
Apparently it was African American congresswoman from Texas, Barbara Jordan. Stan, that is
much too hard. I think you were getting tired of me not being
shocked, Stan, because it’s pretty strange to end an episode on conservatism with a quote
from Barbara Jordan, whose election to Congress has to be seen as a huge victory for liberalism.
But I guess it is symbolic of the very things that many conservatives found unsettling in
the 1970s, including political and economic success for African Americans and women, and
the legislation that helped the marginalized. I know that sounds very judgmental, but on
the other hand, the federal government had become a huge part of every American’s life,
maybe too huge. And certainly conservatives weren’t wrong
when they said that the founding fathers of the U.S. would hardly recognize the nation
that we had become by the 1970s. In fact, Watergate was followed by a Senate
investigation by the Church Committee, which revealed that Nixon was hardly the first president
to abuse his power. The government had spied on Americans throughout
the Cold War and tried to disrupt the Civil Rights movement. And the Church Commission,
Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, Vietnam all of these things revealed a government that
truly was out of control and this undermined a fundamental liberal belief that government
is a good institution that is supposed to solve problems and promote freedom.
And for many Conservatives these scandals sent a clear signal that government couldn’t
promote freedom and couldn’t solve problems and that the liberal government of the New
Deal and the Great Society had to be stopped. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next week.
Woah! Crash Course is made with the help of all of these nice people and it exists because
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And I am slowly spinning, I’m slowly spinning, I’m slowly spinning. Thank you again for
your support. I’m coming back around. I can do this. And as we say in my hometown,
don’t forget to be awesome.

96 Comments

  • 54markl

    Well, it’s about time we poke you Ultra-Rights across the Bering Strait with very sharp Bayonets. Looking forward to it. 😡

  • EmoPro93

    I hope America could go back to this revolution again. I bet their ancestors would face palm and strangle their grandchildren if they can see Americans today.

  • Matthew Fox

    "I hate big government and love freedom!" Also conservatives "I will use big government to enforce my moral and religious values!"
    Least to say, conservatives hold a lot of contridictory values. They would have a better chance conserving anything by being communists than clinging to capitalism.

  • Army Mobility Officer

    Shelby was elected by teachers, blacks and labor. He defeated a real Republican – Jeremiah Denton.

  • Ghost Rider

    D’nesh DeSousa did research on the the switch from Democrat to Republican. Didn’t happen save for 1 or 2 people.

  • Kevin Odom

    Sorry I missed parts of “Presidents campaign planted bugs and spied on a candidates campaign”? Were you talking about Obama?
    And thank god they got that thing about traditional/all families deteriorating wrong. Smh

  • Chimaoge Ibe

    Absolute joke that John Green said Goldwater didn’t talk about race much. He was a notorious racist dog-whistler who opposed the Civil Rights Act🤦🏾‍♂️

  • kev c

    the era was innocuous? did it open the door for industry-crushing lawsuits stemming from dubious allegations and accusations? did it force employers to hire people that are, as a group and on average, bad investments? yes. yes it did. women leave the work force to have families because the cultural propaganda lie of "career woman" is un-fulfilling to them…so they're bad investments.

  • The Senate

    Whao is it me or does it sound like conservatives are really against other people having rights and progressive movements?

  • Wilbert Diaz

    Was Nixon the sole portrayal of the conservatives or the rise of conservatism? Is there any other thing that would help explain conservatism?

    I only ask because in the video it is mentioned that he was pro- to issues that are of liberal tendency.

  • Michael Keehan

    Here's a little historical lesson: Alabama was always conservative, but Republicans weren't always. Alabama is a southern state, which have a conservative reputation, compared to northern states that are very liberal. Democrats, of all people, were founded as a conservative party (electing people like Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson) and got most votes from the south. Whigs/Republicans (the Whig party collapsed in the 1850's and was replaced by the Republican party), on the other hand, were founded as a liberal party (electing people like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt), and got most votes from the north. This shifted when FDR served 12 years as a Democratic president. A northern liberal, he pushed the very liberal New Deal, and since that got America out of the Great Depression, liberalism became more popular within the Democratic Party. Republicans and Southerners both opposed this, and so Republicans attempted to appeal to southerners by becoming more conservative. By the 1968 election, the South was largely Republican, while the North was largely Democratic. That's why Alabama went from Democrat to Republican.

  • 4meshirts

    You do know that Nixon spearheaded the 1957 civil rights act and under Eisenhower and Nixon they ended segregation in the military Nixon also oversaw the desegregation of schools Nixon did many more things for minorities along with the eeoc etc and Johnson relied on Republicans to pass the civil rights act which was a rehash of the 1957 act that Nixon pushed so Nixon was in no way pro-racist he was the exact opposite so if he was turning poimt of the "southern strategy" he is the worst example you can try to say was racist when everything he did was the opposite

  • philosopherhobbs

    Just randomly saw this and I can't fathom how your "history" of conservatism starts in the 60's instead of with Burke, Hooker, or Hume. This view that conservatism is basically just the views of the Republican party is incredibly ignorant, and just furthers the present-day habit of simply adopting views without any philosophical foundations or justification. True conservatism is a set of more fundamental principles about human nature, a transcendent moral order/law, anti-reductionism, the view that hierarchy is an inevitable part of nature, the link between freedom & property, the view that rapid change is extremely dangerous, and finally that at least partial reliance on custom and tradition is inevitable and so we should be skeptical of "innovators" that would base society on abstract designs that reject most of what has come before (e.g. socialism, abstractly conceived, is supposed to be this perfect solution to capitalism's problems, but in practice it devolves into power being centralized with the few in government and the people are always worse off).

  • Kim O'Brien

    You want cheap government get rid of the standing military, foreign military bases and war materials production. Workers control of Industry with union safety and environmental committees to replace OSHA and EPA.

  • Cory Booker

    Listening to a liberal talk about the “rise” of Conservatism is like listening to a fisherman talk about performing heart surgery. To the creator’s credit he didn’t drone on about the non-existent “switch” as much as most White Liberals do. That said, like all educated whites, the creator drones on about race, “republicans hating civil rights”, and the non-articulable and unproven claim that Republicans and conservatives hate civil rights because they don’t want the ERA to be law!

    But mostly there was no “rise” of Conservatism. Conservatism is the natural state of human kind. “Liberalism” and “change” are two things that ACTUALLY happen, “conservatism” is the absence of things happening.

  • Anthony Trantham

    Hush money payments? Instructing the FBI not to investigate? Obstruction of Justice? Now where have I heard that before? cough Trump cough

  • 256dj

    Government doesn't promote freedom. They don't give freedom either. Freedom is something that is not given, it's something to be taken

  • Geiri K

    I sorta enjoy some of the historical events depicted in this show, but it's obviously very biased from a leftist point of view. It doesnt correctly represent conservative values and constantly elevates leftism as morally superior.
    This kind of historical representation does more harm than good for a society. Shameful for the authors if they want to be respected in the field.

  • Steven Miller

    As a conservative I have to say it was fun to watch a history video made about conservatism from a liberal.
    Now in the era of Trump we can see that free market capitalism has won the day, though government has become the mammoth that was so warned about. I mean c’mon, any liberal can lament about a $23 trillion debt along with conservatives if for no other reason that with that debt we still don’t have a single payer healthcare system.
    In 10 years we will have $50 trillion in debt and services we have been cut.
    Today as a conservative I don’t have any hope of smaller government, but I pray for more effective governance.

  • Tubmaster 5000

    Of course the founding fathers wouldn't have recognized their country if they had been able to see it in the 1970's. They lived in the 18th century. Things do change over time.

  • RenéMarie

    Wow, this video is dated lol. No one believes in the southern strategy anymore! Is the left still using that?

  • Wheelspin Productions

    Choosing Nixon as the face of conservatism is like choosing Jefferson Davis as the face of liberalism.

  • Big Papi

    You can’t look at presidential elections to determine the move of south to republicans. Every confederate state was almost exclusively had a democrat governor from the civil war until the late 1980’s at the end of Reagan’s presidency and early 1990’s. Also, Nixon went after non racist in the southern cities.
    In the 50’s inner cities was fairly safe. The black family, education and community was strong. 78% of black families had both parents. Today 78% of black families are single mothers.

  • Big Papi

    Oh!!!! The Civil rights leaders did all the work on civil rights. Then the democrats swept in at the last minute to take the credit to secure votes.

  • A Google User

    facepalm This is so innacurate.

    Conservativism is based on the ideals of John Locke (his philosophy inspired the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution) Thomas Paine (inspired and rallied the colonies for the Revolution), and Adam Smith (voluntary trade and Capitalism dictated by merit and virtue not government and nobility).

    Conservatism didn't rise in 1960s. It rose with intellectuals and small business owners opposed to FDR'S new deal and Alphabet soup in the 1930s.They actually saw it as Marxism and were opposed to it as Karl Marx was inspired by the philosophy of Rousseau and Hegel who opposed the idea of individual rights that Locke, Pain and Smith advocated for.

    Libertarianism didn't come to rise until the 1960s. With the Libertarian party founded in 1970s. At this point in time it was common belief a Republican is no longer just a conservative but Libertarian as both share the same ideological roots but differ in stance. This was due to the Republican party achieved thier goals of ending slavery and segregation as they were abolishionists.

    For example Libertarians believe death penalty is wrong and Drugs should be legal (I am simplifying). Conservatives Follow John Locke's philosophy of Natural rights as All have the right to live only murderers forfeit their right, and Drugs harm the human body (thier own property) and can cause the theft or damage of another's property which violates John Locke's 2nd and 3rd rule of Natural rights: you have the right to own property from your own work, gift or trade uncoerced as long as it doesn't violate the first two: the rights of expression as long as it doesn't violate the first: the right to live as long as you don't take that right from another except in defense of your own.

    Moral conservativism did not come until Roe v Wade. This wasn't necessarily a change in viewpoints as it was Christians and religious groups rallying around Conservative ideology and John Locke.

    Civil Rights act may have been passed under a Democratic majority congress, but it was a Republican victory. In yays v nays, Republican yays outnumbered democrats in majority ergo Former Democrats who voted Yay to civil rights actually became Republican.

    ERA was not ratified due to states having a Democratic majority in state legislatures. The Constitution calls for a 3/4 amendment. The last time a "progressive" Amendment was ratified was the 18th amendment part of the Prohibition of 1919. And was quickly repealed with the 22nd. I wouldn't call the 19th progressive because women could vote in the colonies and in many states. Just not in presidential elections.

    Edit: I finally finished watching this. Nice propaganda. Ok next despite what some textbooks claim. There was no "southern strategy." In contrary to progressive rhetoric, the facts show a different perspective. Though it does tie into the 1972 elections. Nixon was in California. McGovern, his Democratic opponent was in South Dakota.

    McGovern pandered to min wage and an end to the Vietnam conflict. This is Also where Watergate comes from (Nixon's campaign staff wire taps mc Govern).
    Nixon in contrast references to drugs and law and order in the DNC events of Chicago 1968 were quite obviously directed at the antiwar protesters. To iterate, this is where the pop culture references of National Guard and Swat teams were lined up to face a horde of antiwar protesters lined up outside the DNC conventional meeting (Hollywood likes to show us pictures of a girl putting flowers in the soldiers rifles). He rallied against the drug culture supporters and activists who were white in majority and had a excellent record for civil rights He supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, plus he fought to end segregation in schools.

    The New York Times wrote:
    "There's no doubt about it – the Nixon administration accomplished more in 1970 to desegregate Southern school systems than had been done in the 16 previous years or probably since. There's no doubt either that it was Richard Nixon personally who conceived and led the administration's desegregation effort."

    In 1968 the main issue was the Vietnam War. One of the popular Republican slogans about Democrats was it was the party "Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion" (remember the Roe v Wade references?). It was a rally against Democrat George McGovern and the source was his running mate Tom Eagleton (you can Read about it in his memoir The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington). It was discovered later Eagleton had been admitted for shock therapy in the past so they had to get someone else. If not for Eagleton's blunder, it would have been McGovern not Carter that won the election and remained the standard-bearer for liberalism after what would have been a close defeat by Nixon. Had they known that Eagleton originated the phrase, they wouldn't have picked him.

    "Then he never would have been picked as vice president. Because the two things, the two things that happened to George McGovern—two of the things that happened to him—were the label you put on him, number one, and number two, the Eagleton disaster. We had a messy convention, but he could have, I think in the end, carried eight or 10 states, remained politically viable. And Eagleton was one of the great train wrecks of all time."

    Eagleton wrote to Novak:
    "One liberal senator feels McGovern’s surging popularity depends on public ignorance of his acknowledged public positions. "The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot," he told us. Once "middle America—Catholic middle America, in particular"—once they find out, "he’s dead."

    But here is the facts on the 3:

    1.) Acid. McGovern flat-out did not favor legalizing marijuana, much less acid. Eagleton was quite nastily reminding Novak by indirection that McGovern's teenage daughter Terry (an addict who would later freeze to death while passed out drunk) had, four years earlier, gotten busted for marijuana possession.

    2.) Amnesty. McGovern did indeed favor amnesty for Vietnam draft resisters, but so, prior to the 1972 campaign, had Nixon. When Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter later granted in stages, complete amnesty to all Vietnam draft evaders, the republic somehow managed to survive.

    Abortion. McGovern's position stood to the right of Roe. McGovern said abortion was a matter best left to the states, which essentially is the pro-life position today. In 1973 Roe would say that the U.S. Constitution guaranteed every woman the right to choose whether to have an abortion.

    The results were a landslide and the South was still largely Democrat territory.

    The South would not be Republican until Ronald Reagan with the 80s and 90s. The conservative appeal to patriotism, anti-communism, free markets, pro-life and Christianity had far more to do with the South's movement into the GOP camp than anything related to race. And this is because of Gingrich and Raegan's "Contract with America" of 1994. Among the proposals were tax cuts, a permanent line-item veto, measures to reduce crime and provide middle-class tax relief, and constitutional amendments requiring term limits and a balanced budget.

    Yet the myth of Nixon's Southern Strategy endures in curriculums – not because it's true, but because it conveniently serves to exculpate the crimes of the Democratic Party and not just in Chicago of 1968 nor with Eagleton. Somehow the party that promoted slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and racial terrorism gets to wipe its slate clean by pretending that, with Nixon's connivance, the Republicans stole all their racists. It's time we recognize this excuse for what it is: a lie and myth.

    I'm an Americanist by profession so yeah I am quite confident in my statement.

    Public Records don't lie. I suggest you go read up on them.

  • Surgé Land

    I tried man, I really tried to give conservatism the benefit of the doubt. But I have yet to find a conservative who:
    -Does not either make excuses for their worst figures or claim that they are really on the left.
    -Understands the ideas they claim to oppose.
    -Has not lied either by omission or by outright falsehood.
    -Does not claim that the problems with the right are either nonexistent or are constructs of the left.
    It's for these reasons that I have to conclude that conservatism, in its
    many forms of varying malignity, is anti-truth, anti-human and
    anti-thought.

  • Surgé Land

    I tried man, I really tried to give conservatism the benefit of the doubt. But I have yet to find a conservative who:
    -Does not either make excuses for their worst figures or claim that they are really on the left.
    -Understands the ideas they claim to oppose.
    -Has not lied either by omission or by outright falsehood.
    -Does not claim that the problems with the right are either nonexistent or are constructs of the left.
    It's for these reasons that I have to conclude that conservatism, in its
    many forms of varying malignity, is anti-truth, anti-human and
    anti-thought.

  • Nobr4in3r

    You know it seems to me that the more liberal our society gets, the more the conservatives have a point as they push back against the excesses of liberal, or "progressive" thought.
    Fighting against civil rights and sexual liberty? No thanks
    Fighting against puberty blockers for children? Okay, yeahh that I can get behind

  • Corbin Smith

    The primary opponent of the civil rights act was southern democrats. Of the 20 or so dems who voted against the bill, only one later became a republican, and the south didn’t vote republican solidly until the 1990s. Get your facts straight.

  • Vary Olla

    In actuality what many today point to as "conservatism" = is in actuality "corporatism".   That is because the individual counts for less here while industry needs and desires are the ultimate end goal of supposed conservative philosophical rationalizations.  The rubepublican party could give a rip what the individual does.  Their main concern is to maximize their hold on power via pandering to corporate interests under the guise of supposedly looking out for the little man.

    So here is what people need to wrap their heads around = "things change".  Change is the one constant in the Universe.  Accordingly we can never go back to the supposed "good old days" – which actually were not that good by the way – because the conditions which allowed things to happen back then simply no longer exist.

    So no one wants a tyrannical government.  Yet the reason we see laws passed and pushes for societal changes = is because bad things happen.  The supposed "laizze faire" worldview of some conservatives can not exist in the real world.  All it ultimately accomplishes is destructive chaos and eventually anarchy = which is the antithesis of what conservatives claim to believe in.   Something new to think about.

  • Mixart Johnson

    I'm a conservative, not a Republican, I may have some Libertarian views. Life is not in just Black and White and people make mistakes. It is logical for us to base our political views on the real world we live in, also taking into account history.

  • The Night Watcher

    Long story short, a conservative is someone who wants society to “progress” either very slowly or not at all because they feel the society that exists now is the best that could exist already.

    And American conservatism tends to combine itself with some forms of libertarian thought such as advocating for little, if any economic regulation and keeping government power as weak as possible.

  • Danielle Dortch

    Wow this video couldn’t be more left leaning if it tried 😳if you want to learn actual history I would suggest going to Khan Academy and not watching this stuff

  • Emir EC

    Very very incorrect to refer to libertarians as conservative. The only think libertarians and conservatives have in common is their staunch opposition to socialism

    Libertarians favour free market capitalism, liberal social values and they are all either Minarchists or Anarchists

    Conservatives don't believe in free markets, only in markets more free than what socialism calls for. And they also don't believe in liberal values and they do believe in authoritarian governments of varying sizes

  • Akash Guha Thakurata

    Churchill used to say any youth who's not a liberal is heartless, and an mature adult who's not a conservative is simply brainless

  • NyJoanzy

    Conservatives: structural hierarchy of capitalism.
    Liberals: reduction of hierarchy threw democracy.

    No wonder these jerks never get along.

  • Mateo Junior Fitness

    The south didn’t shift away from dems because of negotiations with MLK. Nearly every republican in Congress voted for the civil rights act of 1964, while only about half of democrats did. Just because LBJ talked with MLK doesn’t mean the entire south says, “let’s not vote Dem anymore.”

  • tom Timir

    I discovered CrashCourse on my youtube feed recently. After watching a dozen or so, I heard John mention he was a novelist. Oh cool, let's google his name. John Greene, that sounds familiar. Wait, those book covers look familiar. Yes, I own those books. It's the same John Greene!!! Needless to say, in the off chance you read this, it's kinda cool to see the face of an author whose books I've enjoyed. Thanks.

  • AStreetStrutter

    libertarianism and conservatism are separate movements with overlapping agendas such as free enterprise and limited government.

  • EandG Portland

    Hey so there’s a bunch of comments warning about political war but no actual debate in the comments. So here:

    [Political party] is good. Prove me wrong.

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