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The American conservative movement has been anti-worker since birth.

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If we look at the 1930s, we can see modern conservatism not just as a movement primarily motivated by social and cultural issues, but a movement that is funded by big business, because of corporate leaders' opposition to changes in labor laws. When FDR's New Deal began protecting worker rights to organize, that is what motivated a lot of the nation's business leaders to organize against Roosevelt's vision of social democracy.

Historian Kathryn Olmsted traces the rise of the American conservative movement to a New Deal backlash by corporate agriculture owners in 1930s California, and explains how ideological appeals to racism and fear of organized labor have guided the Republican party, and shaped American politics and labor, ever since.

Kathryn is author of the book Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism.

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Kathryn Olmsted

Kathryn S. Olmsted is an author and chair of the history department at the University of California, Davis.

 

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