Magazine December 17, 2020, Issue

A Uniquely American Conservatism

James L. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and William F. Buckley Jr. in 1975 (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)
The past triumphs and present challenges of the movement Buckley started

On October 27, 1960, National Review celebrated its fifth birthday with a gala dinner in the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel. William F. Buckley Jr.’s speech that evening struck a melancholy note. He framed his remarks around the lives of several prominent members of the audience: Herbert Hoover, General Douglas MacArthur, and Admiral Lewis Strauss, the former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission whose nomination for secretary of commerce had been rejected by the Senate.

Like these men, Buckley said, Na­tional Review did not fit with its times. “We are all of us in one sense out of spirit with history,”

This article appears as “A Uniquely American Vision” in the December 17, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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