Longtime activist, author, and antifeminist leader Phyllis Schlafly is for many the symbol of the conservative movement in America. In this provocative new book, historian Donald T. Critchlow sheds new light on Schlafly's life and on the unappreciated role her grassroots activism played in transforming America's political landscape. Based on exclusive and unrestricted access to Schlafly's papers as well as sixty other archival collections, the book reveals for the first time the inside story of this Missouri-born mother of six who became one of the most controversial forces in modern political history. It takes us from Schlafly's political beginnings in the Republican Right after the World War II through her years as an anticommunist crusader to her more recent efforts to thwart same-sex marriage and stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Schlafly's political career took off after her book A Choice Not an Echo helped secure Barry Goldwater's nomination. With sales of more than 3 million copies, the book established her as a national voice within the conservative movement. But it was Schlafly's bid to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment that gained her a grassroots following.
Her anti-ERA crusade attracted hundreds of thousands of women into the conservative fold and earned her a name as feminism's most ardent opponent. In the 1970s, Schlafly founded the Eagle Forum, a Washington-based conservative policy organization that today claims a membership of 50,000 women. Filled with fresh insights into these and other initiatives, Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism provides a telling profile of one of the most influential activists in recent history. Sure to invite spirited debate, it casts new light on a major shift in American politics, the emergence of the Republican Right.
Donald T. Critchlow is the author or editor of twelve books on modern American politics, public policy, and business. He is a professor of history at Saint Louis University.
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 Chapter One: The Making of a Grassroots Conservative 12 Chapter Two: Ideology and Politics in 1952 37 Chapter Three: Anticommunism: AYoung Woman's Crusade 62 Chapter Four: The Republican Right Under Attack 89 Chapter Five: The Goldwater Campaign 109 Chapter Six: The Establishment Purges Schlafly 137 Chapter Seven: Confronting the Soviets in a Nuclear Age 163 Chapter Eight: Nixon Betrays the Right 183 Chapter Nine: The ERA Battle Revives the Right 212 Chapter Ten: The Triumph of the Right 243 Chapter Eleven: Ideology and Power in a Divided Nation 270 Manuscript Collections 305 Notes 309 Index 403