The University of Wisconsin Press

U.S. History / Religion / Politics

Countercultural Conservatives
American Evangelicalism from the Postwar Revival to the New Christian Right
Axel R. Schäfer

Studies in American Thought and Culture

Paul S. Boyer, Series Editor

Today Christian evangelicals appear to form a solid
conservative bloc—but it was not always so

In the mid-twentieth century, far more evangelicals supported such “liberal” causes as peace, social justice, and environmental protection. Only gradually did the conservative evangelical faction win dominance, allying with the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan and, eventually, George W. Bush.

In Countercultural Conservatives, Axel Schäfer traces the
evolution of a diffuse and pluralistic movement into the political force of the New Christian Right. In forging its complex theological and political identity, evangelicalism did not simply reject the ideas of 1960s counterculture, Schäfer argues. For all their strict Biblicism and uncompromising morality, evangelicals absorbed and extended key aspects of the countercultural worldview.

Carefully examining evangelicalism’s internal dynamics, fissures, and coalitions, this book offers an intriguing reinterpretation of the most important development in American religion and politics since World War II.

Axel R. Schäfer is director of the David Bruce Centre for American Studies at Keele University, UK, and author of American Progressives and German Social Reform, 1875–1920.

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The cover of Countercultural Conservative is a collage of two images of Christian evangelicals.

December 2011
LC: 2011012634 BR
264 pp.   6 x 9   20 b/w illus.

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“A compelling history of evangelical politics from the early 1940s to the late 1990s. Schäfer’s ability to show how the Christian Right combines traditional moral convictions with modern consumerism, as well as his careful discussion of continuities from postwar suburbanization through post-1960s right-wing activism, makes his book a landmark contribution. This one is a gem.”
—Mark A. Noll, author of God and Race in American Politics: A Short History

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Updated November 16, 2011

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