Acton Institute Powerblog

Acton Line rebroadcast: Russell Kirk and the genesis of American Conservatism

Russell Kirk has long been known as perhaps the most important founding father of the American conservative movement in the second half of the twentieth century. In the early 1950s, America had emerged from the Great Depression and the onset of the New Deal, and was facing the rise of radical ideologies abroad; the American Right seemed beaten, broken, and adrift. Then in 1953, Russell Kirk released his masterpiece, The Conservative Mind. More than any other published work of the time, this book became the intellectual touchstone of a reinvigorated movement and began a sea change in Americans’ attitudes toward traditionalism. In this episode pulled from the archive, Bradley J. Birzer, professor of history at Hillsdale College, recounts the story of Kirk’s life and work, paying attention not only to his writings on politics and economics, but also literature and culture–subjects dear to Kirk’s heart and central to his thinking.

Buy “Russell Kirk: American Conservative,” by Bradley J. Birzer

Read “Russell Kirk Reconsidered,” by Bradley J. Birzer

Watch: Acton Institute 1st Anniversary Dinner with Russell Kirk & William F. Buckley, Jr.

Learn more about the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal

Continuing the work of Russell Kirk: A portrait of conservatism’s home

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Caroline Roberts

Caroline Roberts is a managing editor at the Acton Institute and produces Acton's weekly podcast, Acton Line.