American ConservatismNOMOS LVI

American ConservatismNOMOS LVI

Sanford Levinson, Melissa Williams, and Joel Parker

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9781479812370

Publisher: NYU Press


The topic of American conservatism is especially timely, and perhaps volatile. Is there what might be termed an “exceptional” form of conservatism that is characteristically American, in contrast to conservatisms found in other countries? Are views that are identified in the United States as conservative necessarily congruent with what political theorists might classify under that label? Or does much American conservatism almost necessarily reflect the distinctly liberal background of American political thought? This book reflects on these crucial questions, unpacking the very nature and development of American conservative thought. It examines both the historical and contemporary realities of arguments offered by self-conscious conservatives in the United States, offering a well-rounded view of the state of this field. In addition to synoptic overviews of the various dimensions of American conservative thought, specific attention is paid to such topics as American constitutionalism, the role of religion and religious institutions, and the particular impact of the late Leo Strauss on American thought and thinkers. Just as American conservatism includes a wide, and sometimes conflicting, group of thinkers, the chapters themselves reflect differing and sometimes controversial assessments of the theorists under discussion.