This introductory chapter provides an outline of the book’s rationale. This book begins with an extended conversation that seeks to delineate key aspects of “American conservatism” and its differences from both “American liberalism” and “conservatism” as practiced elsewhere. Moreover, it examines the controversies about the relationship of church and state. It then turns to a more explicit consideration of the relationship among self-described conservatives within the American legal order, including the U.S. Constitution. Finally, the book looks at two important figures within the history of post-World War II American conservatism: William F. Buckley and Leo Strauss—with three essays focusing particularly on Strauss.
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