tv History Bookshelf CSPAN October 1, 2016 4:00pm-4:46pm EDT
night at eight about eastern on c-span. eastern on c-span and c-span.org. bookshelf,history donald critchlow talks about his book, phyllis schlafly and grassroots conservatism: a woman's crusade. in the autobiography, he talks about the career of phyllis schlafly, including her fight against the equal rights amendment. her stance on conservatism and the emergence of the republican right wing. this was recorded at the heritage foundation in 2005. it is about 40 minutes. heritage foundation, we envision an america with freedom, opportunity and prosperity. we're also pleased to honor those who have served so much to advance the cause and values that we stand for. we're pleased today to feature a discussion of one of the leaders
of the movement. that is phyllis schlafly. introducing our special author, our vice president for external relations. dunlap overseas policy institutions and other leadership organizations. prior to joining heritage, she was the secretary of natural resources for the commonwealth of virginia and the cabinet of governor and now senator george allen. she was also a senior official in the reagan administration. assistant to the president and the department of his cabinet. she then served as deputy undersecretary for the department of the interior. like the subject of our program today, she has been a staunch advocate for conservative ideas and values and serves as a board
member for numerous public policy organizations and associations that are advancing the conservative movement. colleague.atomic, my becky: thank you. welcome to all of you who are here and those of you watching on television. this is the book. i first met phyllis schlafly in the fall of 1973, and she was already a famous lady. i'd read a choice, not an echo when i was in junior high school because it was part of the , goldwater campaign and we were all learning about presidential candidates in those years. it is, she is a delightful lady, and it is a real treat and an
honor to have today a guest who has written this very insightful book about her. our guest is dr. donald critchlow. he's a professor of history at st. louis university in st. louis, missouri. he is the author and editor of "america'sncluding promise, a concise history of the united states." he taught at hong kong university. so, he has been around the world in the places where lots of action is occurring. he's been interviewed about politics and current events for national review, npr, cnn and the bbc. he's the founding editor of the , andal of policy history
academic journal concerned with the application of historical perspectives to public policy studies. he earned his b.a. degree and masters p.h.d. at the university of california, berkeley. many of us know phyllis schlafly "a choice, authored , not an echo." others of us may know her because she stopped the passage of the equal rights amendment. still, others might know fill -- might know phyllis schlafly because of her leadership on the national defense and sovereignty issues, or because she is in the member of the eagle forum, that she started in the 1970's. all of these elements make up phyllis schlafly. and our speaker today is going to give us a glimpse inside the book that he has written about
this remarkable woman who steven hayward says is the most consequential woman in american politics since susan b anthony. let's welcome donald critchlow. [applause] becky: welcome. you very much. thank you. you can look through those footnotes. i want to thank you for the warm introduction and thank you for being here today. i see that i have some friends in the audience, in fact i have a friend from kansas. so i appreciate you showing up. today, instead of recounting the entire career of phyllis schlafly that expands over 50 years, detailed in my book, i decided to focus on the equal rights battle in the 1970's because it transformed american politics.
let's go back in time 30 years. the place, illinois state university. the year is 1973. the setting is the debate over the equal rights amendment, phyllis schlafly are going and thosee amendment, arguing in favor of the amendment that had passed congress over march 22, 1972 and awaiting final ramification by the states. as of the debate proceeded that somebody blurted out, you are a traitor to your's -- to your sex. i would like to burn you at the stake. they showed her ability to frustrate her opponent, leading them to cast themselves as ill-tempered radicals out of touch with mainstream america and intolerant of other views.
truth be told, phyllis schlafly often baited the feminists into making such wild remarks. she loved to open the debate by thanking her husband fred for allowing her to be away from home. [laughter] donald: she told her audiences that american women never had it so good and that a mother's first duty was not to herself but her children. and such sentiments flew in the face of feminists at the time. but it wasn't just the defeat of the ra that riled her opponents. even more aggravating was that so many women came to accept her critique of the ra. she summoned grassroots women to .lock the legislators she dared to tread in the grassroots. for feminists, these women not
refused to throw off these shackles, but they clutched them in pride. they lost their battle for the e.r.a. and that enabled conservatives to gain strength. in the process of the battle, she showed the republican party, demoralized after watergate, that social issues could provide the wedge to lift the party from its dolldrums at a time when many spoke openly of the gop going the way of the whig party. people saw time, few the ramifications of the class, the worldviews over basic social issues concerning the family, children, abortion, guy rights, -- gay rights and war. these issues went to the very heart of the social fabric of american life.
what motivated phyllis schlafly, who seemed to have emerged from nowhere to defeat the e.r.a.? some would describe her as a kind of anti-feminist feminist, but i am not sure what that means, but the description reflects a modern sensibility that misrepresents her and other conservative women. the activities of the right-wing women did not represent a kind of perverted feminism, but instead phyllis schlafly and other conservatives, these women were direct descendents of an early, moral, republican sentiment. it was this moral tradition that would be mobilized in the fight against the e.r.a. this brings us to the question, able tophyllis schlafly
defeat the e.r.a.? the proposed constitutional amendment simply stated e the quality of rights under the law should not be abridged by the united states or by any other state on account of sex. this proposed amendment had easily passed congress in 1972, supported by both parties. the amendment received the support of every presidential administration until ronald reagan came into office. gerald ford and jimmy carter supported the amendment, as had their wives. the e.r.a. drew the support of magazine editors who came together in a well , organized campaign to support the amendment. and it showed up in many women magazines. including redbook, good housekeeping, and modern bride to name a few. although initially proposed to amendment, to the
through there for resources into the campaign. -- the e.r.a. became a major cause for hollywood celebrities who gave money, testified before congress, on behalf of the e.r.a. supporters included actor alan alda, and singer helen retty, who's hit song i am woman captured the mood of feminism in the 1970's. when schafly entered the fight, ratification of the amendment seemed all by certain. by mid 1977, 35 states had ratified e.r.a. when they appeared that the amendment would not receive the necessary state votes for ratify -- for ratification, congress
extended it for 1979 to 1982. yet with all of these advantages, it failed. why? i think a number of factors should be highlighted in explaining its defeat. the first factor is schafly herself. her attack was multiple. she maintained that it threatened to deprive women workers, and threatened the mothers toives and alimony in case of divorce. it held the potential for drafting women in combat. instituting abortion on demand and allowing same sex marriage. she argued that the issue is not whether women should be given better employment opportunities, appointment to higher positions, or to gain admission to medical schools. such goals she said were desireable and she claimed to support any necessary legislation to achieve these goals. the feminists she said, quote,
"were claiming these goals as their own in order to sugar coat an agenda that was anti-family, abortion." and anti- another factor in the defeat is, the ideology. she tapped into a well spring of resentment on culture changes that were occurring on the secular left, challenged long standing tradition and custom. a mood of opposition to secular culture had been considering at , least since the supreme court decision to ban school prayer in , 1962. roe v. wade in 1973 intensified this opposition. phyllis schlafly, through the movement, was able to introduce
large numbers of christian women to politics and tapped into their fears the third val views -- fears that their views were being threatened by the secular left. over all, anti-e.r.a. activists mirrored pro activists, though with one important difference, church membership. 98% of anti-e.r.a. supporters claimed church membership while only 31% supporters did. e.r.a. supporters welcomed the new morality and reproductive rights. a third factor is organization. on september 26, 1972, she held the first national conference e.r.a., which stood for, stop taking our privleges. by focusing on the social and e.r.a., andons of
the harm it would cause women, she allowed a broad coalition to establish for republican women, as well as average women motivated by religious concerns. stop e.r.a. was an organization which decentralized and focused on a sing issue. the pro e.r.a. campaign was mostly centralized and came out of washington, d.c. only late in the campaign did the pro group realize the problems created by the lack of grassroots organization and input. fourth, the division of pro e.r.a. forces. the two principal organizations involved in the movement, the national organization for women, now, and e.r.a. america often found themselves at logger heads
over general strategy and tactics. e.r. america was formed in 1976 , after proponents of the amendment realized they had been caught off guard by schlafly's movement. umbrellaerica was an organization, but now refused to join, so the two groups conducted separate fund-raising and political activities. on linkingsisted e.r.a. to abortion and gay rights. turned to issues such as lesbian rights, reproductive rights and social change. the model for this struggle, for their struggle, was a civil rights movement in the 1960's. but the fight over e.r.a. was to be fought in the hals of the state assemblies, not in the streets. e.r. america argued against now
strategy of confrontation and urged more subtle lobbying campaigns. e.r.a. american leaguers believed that now activities actually hurt lobbying efforts by their radical demeanor and appearance, and their open hostility to their open white male politicians who dominated the state assemblies in the late 1970's. for example a lobbyist in , illinois complained to the , i quote, "you can imagine how the hard-nosed county polls would inherit the mayor's power have looked upon those braless, loud-mouthed, now women." in short, e.r. america was working in the system while, in expressed radical feminism. in 1975, karen decrow won
election as now pts on in slogan out of the mainstream into the revolution. arguing that now she'd be -- now should be fighting against racism and for homosexual rights. the radical now hand book revolution, tomorrow is now, to take state, to give to state legislators and the general public, telling them that they should read both sides of the issues. phyllis schlafly and her forces used the tactics of feminine persuasion because many anti-e.r.a. activists had been involved in church affairs and a new their state legislators. they came in dresses, worry -- wore make-up and thanked their legislators for voting
their way. they sent cards and baked bread. they said thank you for hearing , us. but we hope you will vote our way next time. this was contrary to pro e.r.a. activists who tried to intimidate their opponents to -- an extreme example when florida state senator holloway, an old time labor democrat voted against ratification, his office was flooded with letters from throughout the country, personally attacking him. in what appears to have been a concerted campaign, enclosed in dozens and dozens of letters were used sanitary napkins and on scene clippings from homosexual pornography magazines. i have to say while i was doing this research i had to keep getting up and washing my hands. it was quite foul when i discovered this. this leads to a final factor that we should examine. i think you guessed it. public image. too often her opponents came across as angry, emotional and
out of the mainstream. in the last days of the fight , when it was apparent e.r.a. would be defeated, the personal attacks on schafly became vicious. opponents try to link her with the john birch society, the american nazi party and even the k.k.k. in 1977, doonsberry cartoonist placed one of his characters in a debate with phyllis schafly and as schafly speaks to the crowd, joany thinks, hey, phyllis your sheet is showing. these representations of schafly as a feminist and part of a right wing organized deball took a more sinister turn when opponents suggested that violence was the best way to stop schafly. kennedy florence
appeared on the radio and denounced schafly as a pigocrat exclaimed, i do not understand why people do not hit her in the mouth. when asked about the,, she explained, i don't think phyllis schafly should be damaged seriously but instead of debating her, people should slap. now we come to our final set of questions we began this talk with. what were the ramifications of this debate and how did the e.r.a. debate transform american politics? perhaps what is most striking about the defeat of e.r.a. in 1982 was that it was so long expected. in the struggle against feminism, schafly and her followers concluded that america faced an enemy within that threatened the traditional order of a christian based society. with the erosion of of religious
faith among a significant part of the population, especially among the educated classes, american culture appeared to be in disineqilibrium. which was reflective in the politics. debates over abortion, public expression of faith and same-sex , marriage put secular and religious in sharp relief. in arguing their case, schafly and the gop right represented a moral populism. in the that persisted compromised politics of washington. for moral populace such as phyllis schlafly, victory didn't mean winning political power but ensuring moral order in the american republican. and where do we stand today? american politics in the late 20th century appears to have
become one of black and white for many people. religious and cultural polarization spilled over into american politics, intensifying partisanship while alienating large members of voters. schafly fueled partisanship and her ability to tap into the frustration of religious minded people revived the conservative movement. the revival could not have been accomplished without the renaissance of conservative ideas that emerged in the post world war ii america. despite the divisions in the nation's culture, the right will remain a force in american politics and to the foreseeable future. yet conservatives will confront the dilemma presented by a democratic system given to political compromise. if the republican party is -- byby the editorial
policy, largecept and small, that had up to an affirmation of their government, how long can any conservative regime last? conservatives have arguably brought down this thing call liberalism as william buckly demanded in the first issue of because as ofw, yet they have not confirmed the , conservativism is viable in an age of rights, and unrestrained obligation. and of unbrideled demands on government spending. , like william buckley and phyllis schafly and paula and ronald ray began have shifted the gop to the right, and in doing so, shifted political debate in a conservative direction in this country. they issued a call for a political revolution to overturn
the new deal order and enjoyed much success in doing so. but the cultural civil war continues, unabated as of the united states enters the 21st century. thank you. [applause] >> i can recognize. whatever you want to do. it is your game. let our speaker recognize questioners and in a moment we should of a microphone for them so that questions can , be heard online. first off, i will ask you one myself. donald: ok. john: you mentioned phyllis schlafly and her moral stand. how much of this do you think is from her middle america upbringing? i'm prejudiced having been from illinois. donald: i would have to say it
was absolutely essential. i think, seriously, i think, obviously the republican party was transformed by mid-western and western and southern politics. and i think what's essential to understand about phyllis schafly is that she grew up in a strong catholic family in which her mother had to work in order to support the family in the depression and she learned these , values of hard work and opportunity. and i think that her faith as a christian, a roman catholic was absolutely important. at one point, if i may, i asked her how she was able to toler ate all of these arrows that she suffered then and continues to suffer and she said it was her christian faith. i was quite moved by that, quite frankly. john: question in the back.
>> good afternoon. my question is, would you be willing to speculate as to where the country would be today had the e.r.a. amendment passed? not an extreme speculation but a moderate speculation? donald: yes. opposedspeculation as to a long winded speculation. i think that the e.r.a. defeat was important for the conservative movement because it was the first victory that conservatives had enjoyed since nominating barry goldwater in 1964. and furthermore in that, the debate was an important, but the fight was important because she tapped a new constituency. she went out and brought evangelical women together, with jewish women as well as roman catholics. and tapping into that, republican operatives realized
constituency to be brought into the republican party. so i think that was the importance of the equal rights amendment fight. does that answer your question? >> not really. i was asking what you think the country would be like today had it not passed, had it become an amendment. had -- i think if it think well, i think if it passed , we would have court fights today. with much more intensity that we're already having. because the amendment, i think, opened up the door for what phyllis schafly was claiming it was going to. same-sex marriage, abortion on demand, women in combat. now we're fighting those issues , but i think the law -- you would've had a constitutional
amendment that could have been interpreted that way. i think that's you. last books i read in college was choice and echo. i heard there was a big fight in terms of her ability to publish the book. can you go into some detail about that and give a brief skip of what she's thought of the last couple presidents since her activacy has gone through. >> the question is was there controversy over publishing of the "choice and echo." there wasn't controversy over that. she published the book herself. and was able to distribute it through kind of a network of, excuse me, network of conservatives.
and that -- yes, i'm sure about this. i spent four years researching the subject. >> [indiscernible] >> not through churches. it was through a network of her own -- through a conservative, through a conservative network and that book proved critical in winning the nomination for barry goldwater in 1964 in the california primary. over nelson rockefeller. as for what she thinks of the current presidents over the last 30 years, i think i could safely say and i've done much research in her archives, 44 file drawer cabinets as well as other 65 other archival collections and i think i could say or , speculate or say that ronald
reagan is her favorite president. i'll let you ask her, she's still alive, 82 years old about what she thinks of the current president. >> how much interaction did you have with her children? i was curious how involved politically are they and my understanding is that one son is an out of the closet open homosexual. ,is that correct? >> yes. this book was based primarily on archival material. i want to say something, not to avoid the question but to put it into context. the focus of the book is an inside look at grassroots republican politics. i want you to understand the mindset of the grassroots right in trying to explain this great political transformation that we've undergone in the last 30 years.
and i taken extensive look at what was going on both within the grassroots right as well as what her opponents were doing. so there's a lot of good material on that. i did meet her children and i met some of her other family members as well her sister, but it wasn't based on the interviews. and it's a book about the grassroots right through the political career of phyllis schlafly. and i didn't think her son: sexual preferences were important in shaping her outlook. she opposes same-sex marriage. it didn't change her views. i thought that kind of discussion of kind of personal family things was just not relevant and i think we need to address the kind of larger issues that are going on in this country.
that was my own feeling. >> another question? >> one of the reviewers of your book in the "new republic" has trashed it for ignoring phyllis schlafly as a racist and ignoring her extremist views on race and other issues in american society. why does this myth persist on the left if you can comment on race and the conservative revival because you have done a lot of research on this and we find very often not to be the case. so could you comment on that, please? >> well, very good question. thank you for coming here. race is obviously an important question in american history.
but there are other issues in american history as well. and the grassroots right was not shaped by the race issue, a backlash towards civil rights. what was important in shaping waslis schlafly's career anti-communism. that was critical to her. also in my research i might add i found that she, when she ran a political campaign at the and of -- age of 22 after returning from washington after having worked at the american enterprise institute, that she wrote speeches in favor of racial integration. so why have i been attacked in the "new republic" and this long lengthy, long winded spree -- screed against the book? i think it's just a kind of typical ploy that's often been
used against the right. conservatives have this smokescreen and really what they is tapping into the worst racial stereotypical fears of white america. that's not what drove the conservative movement. indeed, if you look at the south, the republicans begin to make inroads into the suburban areas in large cities where the rural areas where you have the ku klux klan remain democratic and they supported george wallace supporters. indeed, should i say this, it's the kkk that has been aligned with the democratic party not
the republican party. >> more questions? yes, sir. from the american coalition for fathers and children. i realize you are writing a work of history. but there may be a danger of neglecting or talking about mrs. schlafly too much in the past. she's very much working today on a number of issues that are very crucial. she's once again on the front of a number of issues that many conservatives are ignoring. since the beginning of this year , she's written about half a dozen or more columns on the injustices that are going on in family courts and tearing apart families. it's a vindication of things she was saying 30 years ago or more. so, it might be interesting for your next article or study on that. >> yes. this is a complex issue in which
the stakes through federal legislation are going after fathers for child support and as part of welfare legislation to make sure fathers took responsibility for the support of those children. i think everybody supported that. what's happening that is that there's support -- each county now has state lawyers that are going after primarily working fathers to get, to collect child support, and it's created a great deal of difficulty. in fact, by the way, there's a new country and western song out that's on the top 10 talking about this problem, so you might want to look for it. it's pretty funny as country and western music sometimes can be.
sad and funny i guess. ,>> to somebody else have one? please use the microphone. >> i am curious and fascinated about the whole subject. my question is, just listening to everything about phyllis schlafly and everything she did when she did it, she actually saw what ultimately did happen in society, and has been happening. she seems to be very much a visionary. what about her background would fact she hased the such a broad perspective and able to really look into things? >> well, that is an excellent question.
i think her talent is really taking ideas that have come out of think tanks and intellectuals and translating them to a larger public. and she's especially strong on constitutional issues and explaining these complex issues to the average person. so, i think this is -- i wanted to attribute to her a sense of prophecy. but i think the conservative movement has been involved in kind of cutting edge of issues in the last 30 or 40 years. one of the most remarkable things i found about phyllis schlafly is her great ability to move ahead. she just does not let things affect her, defeats. she has this, you know, she will just move ahead, sometimes i would find things in the documents. i had a little office that they
gave me to do my research. i was kind of the odd person there as historians often are. i would bump into her and say i just found this document look what they say about you. she goes oh, look who is saying , it. if they were saying that about me, i would be kind and sneaking back into the library. so, you know, it's the kind of personalty that i think is unique and in that way i think she represents a model for activists on both the left and right and believing in what you say and acting upon your beliefs. thisis what makes democracy so great, i think, i have to say. thank you for your question. >> thank you very much. [applause] bookshelf, here from the country's best-known
history writers from the best decade every saturday at 4:00 eastern. you can watch any of our programs at any time if you visit our website. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on cspan3. weekend on american history tv, tonight at 8:00 eastern, the westfield state university criminal justice professor describes the relationship between the extreme right subculture and current politics. >> at first, trump said he did not know enough about this to categorically reject the support. but a couple of days later, trump formally disavowed any relationship with duke and related parties. that has not stopped the media from characterizing trump and his supporters as racists and bigots. theunday morning at 10:00, 1988 vice presidential debate
between republican indiana senator dan quayle and democratic texas senator lloyd bentsen. >> we would be pushing very hard to open those markets and stand up for the american farmer and see that we recaptured those foreign markets. i think we can do it. >> to come in and tell our farmers not to grow corn, not to grow soybeans, that is the kind of farm policy you will get under a dukakis administrator and one that i think the american farmer will rightfully reject. >> at 8:00 eastern on the presidency. >> henry kissinger wanted to make sure no agency had particular entre to president-elect nixon. kissinger wanted to control all of the intelligence float and he did not want the agency trying to sell itself as the premier after in the intelligence community. >> with the recent release by the c.i.a. of 2500 presidential daily brief of richard nixon and
gerald ford, historians at the nixon presidential library and museum discuss the changes presidents have made to the daily briefs. for our complete american history tv schedule, go to c-span.org. weekend, we visit peirce mill. built in the early 1800s along rock creek harkin washington, d.c. -- park in washington, d.c. here is a preview. >> i'm standing in front of peirce mill in rock creek park. this is one of the last vestiges of the rural past of washington. this mill is the only one of its type left. it was part of the way of life of farming and milling that happened in the early 1800's. the owner of the mill was a quaker, a former quaker from pennsylvania named isaac pierce. he came to the washington area
in the late 1790's and bought a lot of land. ultimately, 160 acres along rock creek park area there was an old mill here that he bought and he built this note in about 1820 -- mill in about 1820. he had a whole farmstead here. there was a farmhouse here. there was a building that may have been a distillery, a barn, a springhouse, an entire farm area here. program the entire sunday at 6:00 and 10:00 eastern on american history tv. in april 1775, the british army marched from boston for concord, massachusetts, with orders to seize weapons from american patriots, including some stolen from the british. along the way, patriots met the british troops in lexington
where the first shots of the revolutionary war were fired. next, j.l. bell talks about his book, "the road to concord: how four stolen cannon ignited the revolutionary war." he discusses events leading up to the start of the american revolution dating back to 1774, including the patriots' plot to steal the four british cannons and the british plan to get them back. the society of the cincinnati posted this hour-long event -- hosted this hour-long event. >> good evening. i am the executive director of the society of the cincinnati. it is my pleasure to introduce our speaker this evening. i want you all to do me a favor. this is his book. he's going to talk to us about it. the book is "the road to concord: how four stolen cannon ignited the revolutionary war." he will defend that premise for us a little bit later.