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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Women have participated in conservative movement politics throughout the twentieth century. From opposition mounted against Progressive-era health and welfare legislation to protests against Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to culture war battles with feminists, conservative women have never completely ceded the right side of the political spectrum to men. Essentialist notions of what is “natural” to women, their bodies, and their connection to children and the family, have been the basis of conservative female politics throughout the twentieth century and beyond. Women on the right have drawn from a corpus of beliefs, ideals, and assumptions passed down from generations of political forbears about the natural conservatism of women—an intuitive drive to protect the young and bring calm to the space around them. This chapter examines the impact of that ideology, in its various iterations, over the course of the twentieth century.

Keywords: conservatism, maternalism, housewife, populism, antifeminist, anticommunist

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