Major Themes in US History Since 1968

U.S. History since 1986

The Conservative Influences

Today's America is the result of endless changes in all backgrounds, including economical, technological, social, cultural and political. In terms of political changes, the United States of America has evolved from being the vassal colonies of the British Empire to an independent and democratic state. The federal republic is run by the U.S. Constitution and the country implements a strong democratic tradition. The American federal court is based on the principles of the English common law, but each state has the right to modify its legal system as it sees fit. Louisiana is the sole state which is still influenced by a Napoleonic code. The U.S. has yet to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice - the ICJ jurisdiction (Central Intelligence Agency, 2008).

There are four leading political parties in the United States: the Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the Republican Party. However the Conservative Party is not among the national leaders, it is not to be neglected. This is generally due to the influences it has manifested within both political system, as well as the population's interests.

However the actual roles of the conservative party have been somewhat reduced, they have had the ultimate purpose of influencing the social beliefs and perceptions, setting moral rules and passing them on from generation to generation. Numerous works of art reveal conservative theme and the aim of this paper is to present three such cultural works and the conservative features they contain. Before launching such a venture however, it would be useful to get an insight into the characteristics of the American Conservative Party.

2. The Conservative Party in the U.S.

The American conservative party was established in 1962 and its official name is the Conservative Party of New York. However there are numerous other parties which call themselves conservative, the office in New York is the sole legally constituted one.

The aim of the Conservative Party of New York is to implement and promote the principles of the conservative ages and its emergence has mostly been based as a response to the liberal policies. Otherwise put, the formation of the conservative party is due to the social dissatisfaction relative to some policies implemented by the liberal parties. The party's desiderate is to implement Victorian principles, such as high morals, faith and religion or self-discipline, values which they believe to be endangered in the changing contemporaneous community.

In terms of political success, this has been relatively reduced. "The party is active primarily in the local politics of New York City, but had a membership in the state of about 120,000 in the mid-1980s. The New York Conservative Party achieved its only significant statewide victory in 1970, when its candidate, James L. Buckley, running against Democratic and Republican opponents, won election to the U.S. Senate with a plurality of less than 40% of the total votes cast. Since 1976, when Buckley lost a reelection bid, none of the party's candidates has won major elective office solely on the Conservative line" (MSN Encarta, 2008)

3. Themes of the Conservative Party

The specialized literature on the matter is rather vast, allowing the readers access to numerous sources. Three of the most relevant of such sources, as well as the ideas they promote, will be succinctly presented below:

Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (2004)

Journalist and historian Thomas Frank commences his book by presenting the political features of the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, the political parties had made an agenda of attracting the population and satisfying their social needs by all means in order to gain more electorate. This meant the implementation of numerous changes within the society, changes which were not embraced by all members of the American society. The blame for the modification in society was mostly put on the liberals.

In this political context, the Conservative Party developed the Great Backlash, a reactionary movement which was against the changes that had occurred within the society. In its beginnings, the Backlash would simply address racial matters, but in more recent times, it came to address the all so controversial matters of abortion and gay marriages. It gained significant popularity amongst the U.S. citizens, but despite this, it failed to make a major difference. The question raised by Frank refers to the utility of these conservative…