Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same

By Robert C. Smith

Subjects: African American Studies, Political Parties, History, Political Science, Political Behavior
Series: SUNY series in African American Studies
Paperback : 9781438432328, 285 pages, September 2010
Hardcover : 9781438432335, 285 pages, September 2010

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Table of contents

List of Tables
1. Defi ning the Terms of Discourse
2. Lockean “Liberalism” as the Conservative Ideology in America
3. Th e Special Place of the South in American Conservatism
4. Th e Rise of the Liberal Remnant
5. African American Thought and the Conservative Remnant
6. Racism and the Conservative Intellectual Movement, 1945–1970
7. Racism and Neoconservatism, 1968–1980
8 . Th e Ascendancy of Ronald Reagan and the Parts Played by Ideology and Race
9. The Reagan Presidency and Race
10. Conclusion
About the Author

Systematically illustrates the inescapable racism of American conservatism.


In this provocative, wide-ranging study, Robert C. Smith contends that ideological conservatism and racism are and always have been equivalent in the United States. In this carefully constructed and thoroughly documented philosophical, historical, and empirical inquiry, Smith analyzes conservative ideas from John Locke to William F. Buckley, Jr. , as well as the parallels between the rise and decline of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1970s and the ascendancy of the conservative movement to national power in 1980. Using archival material from the Reagan library, the book includes detailed analysis of the Reagan presidency and race, focusing on affirmative action, the Voting Rights act, the Grove City case, welfare reform, South Africa policy, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They are the Same goes beyond a focus on the right wing, concluding with an analysis of the enduring impact of the conservative movement and the Reagan presidency on liberalism, race, and the Democratic Party.

Robert C. Smith is Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University. He is the author of several books, including African American Leadership; We Have No Leaders: African Americans in the Post–Civil Rights Era; and Racism in the Post–Civil Rights Era: Now You See It, Now You Don't, all published by SUNY Press.