Citizens for Eisenhower and the Republican Party, 1951-1965

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Abstract

Founded in support of Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1952 presidential candidacy, Citizens for Eisenhower took on an ambitious mission to revitalize the Republican party by expanding its activist ranks and by supporting the moderation of its conservative policy agenda. The organization proved unable to sustain the impressive momentum that it achieved during the 1952 campaign, however, instead helping to fuel factional opposition that informed the intraparty upsurge of conservatism during the 1950s and afterwards. The Eisenhower administration's efforts to encourage Citizens activists to join the party were flawed, and existing Republican activists often viewed such newcomers with hostility. More significantly, despite recruitment initiatives, in most cases activism in support of Eisenhower did not translate into enthusiasm for the party cause. The history of Citizens for Eisenhower therefore demonstrates the seriousness of Eisenhower's interests as president in boosting the Republican party's fortunes, but also the shortcomings of ‘amateur’ political activity in support of the party cause. It also sheds light on goals and activities of this era's moderate Republicans, together with their role in fostering the conservative resurgence that characterized the post-Eisenhower Republican party.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-536
JournalHistorical Journal
Volume56
Issue number02
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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