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Conservative Thought and American Constitutionalism since the New Deal

Johnathan O'Neill

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An intellectual history of American conservativism since the New Deal.

The New Deal fundamentally changed the institutions of American constitutional government and, in turn, the relationship of Americans to their government. Johnathan O'Neill's Conservative Thought and American Constitutionalism since the New Deal examines how various types of conservative thinkers responded to this significant turning point in the second half of the twentieth century.

O'Neill identifies four fundamental transformations engendered by the New Deal: the rise of the administrative state, the erosion of federalism…

An intellectual history of American conservativism since the New Deal.

The New Deal fundamentally changed the institutions of American constitutional government and, in turn, the relationship of Americans to their government. Johnathan O'Neill's Conservative Thought and American Constitutionalism since the New Deal examines how various types of conservative thinkers responded to this significant turning point in the second half of the twentieth century.

O'Neill identifies four fundamental transformations engendered by the New Deal: the rise of the administrative state, the erosion of federalism, the ascendance of the modern presidency, and the development of modern judicial review. He then considers how various schools of conservative thought (traditionalists, neoconservatives, libertarians, Straussians) responded to these major changes in American politics and culture. Conservatives frequently argued among themselves, and their responses to the New Deal ranged from adaptation to condemnation to political mobilization.

Ultimately, the New Deal pulled American governance and society permanently leftward. Although some of the New Deal's liberal gains have been eroded, a true conservative counterrevolution was never, O'Neill argues, a realistic possibility. He concludes with a plea for conservative thinkers to seriously reconsider the role of Congress—a body that is relatively ignored by conservative intellectuals in favor of the courts and the presidency—in America's constitutional order. Conservative Thought and American Constitutionalism since the New Deal explores the scope and significance of conservative constitutional analysis amid the broader field of American political thought.

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Conservative Thought and American Constitutionalism since the New Deal

Johnathan O'Neill

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Reviews

Johnathan O'Neill has written an important book, one we have needed for a long time: a carefully focused examination of how conservative thinkers have responded to the four principal challenges of the post-New Deal political and constitutional environment. Essential reading for scholars of all political and constitutional persuasions.

The Constitution is too important to be left to the lawyers, or even the political theorists. In this exemplary work of careful, balanced scholarship, Johnathan O'Neill shows why a fuller understanding of constitutionalism requires historians, and especially historians who take ideas seriously. This is essential reading for every serious student of American conservatism and American constitutionalism.

The Constitution is too important to be left to the lawyers, or even the political theorists. In this exemplary work of careful, balanced scholarship, Johnathan O'Neill shows why a fuller understanding of constitutionalism requires historians, and especially historians who take ideas seriously. This is essential reading for every serious student of American conservatism and American constitutionalism.

Johnathan O'Neill offers an impressive and comprehensive intellectual map of constitutional conservatives' responses to the New Deal. An essential history for those who seek to understand 20th and 21st century conservative constitutional and political thought.

Conservative Thought and American Constitutionalism since the New Deal is a first-rate book that reflects a careful reading of conservative intellectual debates. Although there has been growing attention to the modern conservative thought within that movement, the book breaks new ground while highlighting and clarifying fissures within conservative constitutional thought.

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Book Details

Release Date
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Trim Size
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9
Pages
392
ISBN
9781421444628
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Varieties of American Conservatism after the New Deal
Part I. The Administrative State: An Overview
Chapter 1. Traditionalists, Neoconservatives, Libertarians, and the

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Varieties of American Conservatism after the New Deal
Part I. The Administrative State: An Overview
Chapter 1. Traditionalists, Neoconservatives, Libertarians, and the Administrative State
Chapter 2. Straussians, the Administrative State, and the Rise of the Unitary Executive, Part 1
Part II. The Erosion of Federalism: An Overview
Chapter 3. Traditionalists, Neoconservatives, and the Erosion of Federalism
Chapter 4. Libertarians and the Erosion of Federalism
Chapter 5. Straussians and the Erosion of Federalism
Part III. The Modern Presidency: An Overview
Chapter 6. Traditionalists, the Modern Presidency, and the Rise of the Unitary Executive, Part 2
Chapter 7. Straussians, Neoconservatives, Libertarians, and the Modern Presidency
Part IV. Modern Judicial Review: An Overview
Chapter 8. Traditionalists, Neoconservatives, and Modern Judicial Review
Chapter 9. Straussians and Modern Judicial Review
Chapter 10. Libertarians and Modern Judicial Review: Toward the Imperative of Litigation
Conclusion: Conservatives, Congress, and the Future of American Constitutionalism
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Johnathan O'Neill
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Johnathan O'Neill, Ph.D.

Johnathan O'Neill (STATESBORO, GA) is a professor of history at Georgia Southern University. He is the author of Originalism in American Law and Politics: A Constitutional History.