Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.


L. Sandy Maisel


How did conservatives, who had become effectively ostracized by their party following the Great Depression and the societal reforms of the New Deal, regain leverage within the GOP during the 1960s? My hypothesis is two-fold. First, I contend that a small group of conservative activists led by F. Clifton White, in spite of a dearth of resources and manpower, managed to infiltrate Republican infrastructure and “hijack” the delegate- selection process. The distinctly conservative and recalcitrant disposition of the Goldwater delegates demonstrates that these activists succeeded. Second, I argue that in addition to temporarily overpowering the national convention in 1964, conservatives thereafter retained control of the party insofar as subsequent GOP candidates were obliged to garner the support of conservative pockets of the country in order to win the presidential nomination. The resulting rightward shift of the Republican Party following the 1960s is a direct corollary of the conservative takeover outlined in this study.


conservatives, great depression, GOP, Goldwater delegates, presedential nomination