Joshua Tait

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J. TaitPhD Candidate

Major Field: United States History
Benjamin Waterhouse


BA University of Canterbury, New Zealand,
(with Honors)
MA University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2013
MA Thesis: “The Right, With Lincoln: Conservative Intellectuals Interpret Abraham Lincoln, c. 1945–89”

Research Interests

Dissertation working title: Conservatism and the American Political Tradition: 1945-1975.

My intention is to make a deep study of the intellectual history conservative intellectuals in the middle of the twentieth century. As these men and women worked consciously to form a “conservative movement,” the American political tradition and its meaning became the “key shibboleth” of both their outlook and their identity. Because of the political tradition’s centrality to their conception of American, the conservative intellectuals constructed multiple, competing iterations of it. They argued among themselves, sometimes bitterly, about the meaning of America and – therefore – the nature of American conservatism. Simultaneously, they struggled to establish these alternatives in the public consciousness as alternatives to the prevailing, liberal visions of the American project. This dissertation will sketch the liberal and radical post-war interpretations of the American political tradition, the “conservative moment” in the wake of the Second World War and the apparent failure of radical politics, and the development of an identifiably conservative political ideology in the United States as well as various alternative conservatisms. In addition, this dissertation aims to explore the relationship between conservative intellectuals and traditional sources of intellectual prestige as well as the awkward and sometimes tenuous relationship between conservative intellectuals and the right-wing voting coalition.

Research interests: intellectual history, political history, conservatism, the Republican Party, religion in the United States, the liberal consensus.

Curriculum Vitae

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