What did Conservatives (and others) believe went wrong during the 1960s and 1970s? How do we understand the rise of the New Right into the 1980s?
Disenchantment with the real and apparent failures of the 70s led to the “Right Turn” which at heart rejected much of what defined the era of the 1960s and 1970s. What happened?
Despite the very real successes noted above, the 1960s and 1970s also saw failures and even the positive changes generated anxieties, as in prior times of social change (like the 1920s or the 1950s). What were these real and perceived issues or problems?
Be sure to distinguish between the real and perceived failures of the era. For example, some of the anxieties and fears might have been over changes that were on sum positive but disturbed some people (such as women in the workplace or upward mobility for black people). And some of the failures were obviously real, such as inflation and government deficits. Or of course the defeat in Vietnam.
Assess the primary merits and successes of the movement, but also note some of the issues. For instance, discuss the Southern Strategy (Boyer) which is analyzed by Carter (Cobbs 3d ed), or Boyer’s emphasis on Evangelical Conservatism
You can follow up with why the Reagan administration was a not able to fulfill some of the promises. For instance, government spending and deficits (Boyer) increased throughout the decade, despite the rhetorical emphasis on “small government,” and economic inequality increased dramatically.
Whatever the reasons, the New Right transformed US society and culture. Explain some of the outcomes, both positive and negative, as you see them being sure to discuss religion.