Spiro Agnew and the Rise of the Republican Right

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ABC-CLIO, Oct 26, 2015 - Political Science - 259 pages
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The narrative of Spiro Agnew's rise and fall has never been fully told. This compelling book tells the story of one of the most controversial, high-level politicians of recent American history and explains the importance of Agnew's life and career.

Too often overlooked by students of modern conservatism, Spiro T. Agnew's political career mirrored the transformation of the Republicans from a "big tent" party to a narrower, more conservative, and ideologically purer one in the 1960s and 1970s. Spiro Agnew and the Rise of the Republican Right traces Agnew's life and career and shows how Agnew was a key figure in American politics—and documents how a powerful politician who looked to be headed to the presidency ended up having to resign from the office of the vice president in shame and fade into the shadows of political history.

This political biography examines how Spiro Agnew's ideological transformation from a moderate liberal to a conservative spearheaded the rise of the Republican Right. Author Justin P. Coffey, PhD, explores the political, social, and racial aspects of Agnew's career and how he both influenced and was himself shaped by each of these parameters. This book offers an unprecedented study of Agnew's legacy in the present-day context, providing information suited for any reader interested in history or politics and filling a void in the scholarship of the rise of the conservative movement.

  • Provides a comprehensive scholarly biography of Spiro Agnew, an important 20th-century politician who helped shape the direction of the Republican Party
  • Presents historical information that documents how the conservatives took control of the Republican Party and caused a key shift in the party's ideology
  • Helps explain the origins of the ideological divisions of American politics, allowing readers to better understand the current state of the two main political parties
  • Written by the foremost expert on Agnew and an academic who specializes in recent American history


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1 The Rise of Spiro Agnew
2 Agnew and the Politics of Race
3 Governor Agnew
4 Nixon Agnew and the 1968 Campaign
5 Becoming Nixons Nixon
Agnew and the Politics of Division
7 Survival and Vindication
9 August 1973
10 Damned Lies
11 Resignation

8 President Agnew?

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About the author (2015)

Justin P. Coffey, PhD, is associate professor of history at Quincy University, Quincy, IL.

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