HIST 388B - Paper Two  














Printed Media as Primary Source – William F. Buckley's National Review

The National Review was one of the most influential publications in articulating and promulgating a conservative intellectual ideology in the postwar United States. Founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley, Jr., who edited and wrote much of its content in the early years, the Review took on what it saw as the excesses of liberalism and cultural relavatism in all their forms. Institutions of higher education, moderate politicians, and the mainstream press were among his chief targets. [Buckley had a long and varied career as a conserative commentator; to learn more about his life and philosophy, you may want to consult his 2008 New York Times obituary. A full archive of Buckley's writings is maintained online here.] Your assignment is to write a 2-3 page paper that analyzes ONE of the below articles, all written by Buckley:

Again, choose ONE of these pieces on which to base your paper.  

Before you start, you will want to consult two worksheets I have prepared for general consultation by students in my courses:

There are some specific questions I suggest you consider as your approach these particular sources:

  • How does Buckley structure his arguments to make his point? How does he use language to appeal to his reader's intellect, and to his reader's emotions?
  • How does the article reflect the broader historical context of the moment in which it was produced? What does it tell you about the period?
  • How might Buckley's targets counter his arguments? What might be another way to look at this issue?
  • What has been the intellectual and poltical legacy of the argument that Buckley puts forth in this piece?