Investigating the Rise of the Conservative Movement

Phase 1 content here is also on this Google Doc which was designed for student use. Phase 2 will address the incorporation of Christian conservatives such as Phyllis Schlafly into the Conservative movement; and, Phase 3 will investigation Reagan and the election of 1980. Like the 1948 lesson, this investigation begins with elector maps. Students will need guidance to unpack these.

Phase 1: Foundations, the Election of 1964

The Electoral College

Compare Presidential election results at Describe the results of the 1964 election, including comparisons to previous elections. Consider the following and make a claim: 

How did the election represent a major regional switch for the Republican Party? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of President Johnson’s (Democrat) major achievements, how might this have affected the election? In comparing Republicans and Democrats the following elections are of interest:

  • 1860: first Republican win
  • 1864: Civil War, note the Confederate states (gray)
  • 1900: Republican win, note regional bases of the parties
  • 1928: Republican landslide
  • 1932: Democratic landslide
  • 1948: Democratic Party splits over Civil Rights
  • 1960: Very close Democratic win

How was the election of 1964 different from other elections?  Why might this be? 


Evidence (states won in different elections, issues):

The Goldwater Campaign

Goldwater campaign logo. Source Wikipedia.

View several of Senator Barry Goldwater’s and President Johnson’s campaign commercials at the Living Room War. (Republican: “We will bury you” and “Boy on Bike”; Democratic: “Peace Little Girl” aka “Daisy”, one of the most famous ads of all time and “KKK”, which contains hate speech) What appear to be the main themes of Goldwater’s campaign? How did president Johnson (Democrat) attack Senator Goldwater (Republican).

What were the key ideas of the Goldwater campaign?


Evidence (commercials)

Ronald Reagan’s “The Speech”

View at least part of and read Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing”, an advertisement for the Goldwater campaign that was so important to some Conservatives that they referred to it simply as “The Speech.” What are Reagan’s main points in the speech? How does he support his points? What was Reagan’s aim in “The Speech”, and how does this affect the style and the content? (Note: “The Speech” was a piece of political persuasion and contains factual inaccuracies)

Using the speech as evidence describe the main ideas of Conservatism in 1964:


Evidence (speech paraphrases and quotations)

Phase 1 Summary

How did Conservatives define themselves in 1964, and how might others have defined them?

Use at least one piece of evidence from each part of Phase 1: Maps, Ads, The Speech