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Thunder from the RightEzra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics$
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Matthew L. Harris

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042256

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042256.001.0001

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From New Deal to New Right

From New Deal to New Right

(p.68) 3 From New Deal to New Right
Thunder from the Right
Robert A. Goldberg
University of Illinois Press

This essay foregrounds the beliefs of Ezra Taft Benson concerning the social, political, and diplomatic crises facing the United States since World War II in the context of the rise of the American conservative movement. The Old Right mobilized on a platform of anti-communism, small government, and defense of traditional values and institutions. As secretary of agriculture and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve of the LDS church, Benson played a key role in the movement’s development and growth. He was in touch with leading conservatives such as Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, Governor George Wallace of Alabama, and Robert Welch of the John Birch Society. Benson was also active in moving Mormons into the Republican Party and conservative groups. His commitment to conservative politics carried into the 1970s and 1980s and helped shape the emergence of the New Right. 

Keywords:   John Birch Society, David O. McKay, anti-communism, Religious Right, Conservatism, Robert Welch, Barry Goldwater, Strom Thurmond

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