Resistance from the Right

Conservatives and the Campus Wars in Modern America

By Lauren Lassabe Shepherd

Resistance from the Right

280 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 halftones, 1 graph

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7449-0
    Published: August 2023
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7448-3
    Published: August 2023

Justice, Power, and Politics

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Pivoting from studies that emphasize the dominance of progressivism on American college campuses during the late sixties and early seventies, Lauren Lassabe Shepherd positions conservative critiques of, and agendas in, American colleges and universities as an essential dimension of a broader conversation of conservative backlash against liberal education.


This book explores the story of how stakeholders in American higher education organized and reacted to challenges to their power from the New Left and Black Power student resistance movements of the late 1960s. By examining the range of conservative student organizations and coalition building, Shepherd shows how wealthy donors and conservative intellectuals trained future GOP leaders such as Karl Rove, Bill Barr, Jeff Sessions, Pat Buchanan, and others in conservative politics, providing them with tactics to consciously drive American politics and culture further to the authoritarian right and to "reclaim" American higher education.

About the Author

Lauren Lassabe Shepherd is instructor of higher education at the University of New Orleans.
For more information about Lauren Lassabe Shepherd, visit the Author Page.


"A thoroughly researched, revelatory political history with abundant relevance for today. . . . Shepherd presents compelling evidence for the ways that these groups, although a minority on campus, have exerted long-lasting influence."—Kirkus Reviews (STARRED review)

"Resistance from the Right confidently places conservative thinkers and sponsors in conversation with students in an effort to reveal the expanse of the cultural battlefield of higher education. Shepherd’s meticulous and timely book highlights the right in the history of student activism."—Stefan M. Bradley, Amherst College

"Strong, unique, and well researched, this book addresses a major gap in the studies of American higher education in the protest era of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Digging deeply into a range of conservative organizations and actors, Shepherd offers a refreshing conversation about student activism in the late 1960s."—Linda Eisenmann, Wheaton College

"Resistance from the Right places the campus conservatives of the late 1960s where they belong: not as a mere footnote, not as a mere quirk, but as a central formative part of American conservatism in the late twentieth century. This book is an absolute must read for anyone hoping to understand either American conservatism or American higher education."—Adam Laats, author of Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education

"This book is a superb addition to the growing scholarship on the history of the American right. Lauren Lassabe Shepherd convincingly argues that right-wing students on American campuses during the 1960s were unpopular but that popularity was not a prerequisite for them to build power. Rather, the student right's path to power was its alignment with influential authorities both on and off campus. Based on voluminous archival research and interviews with former right-wing campus activists, Resistance from the Right is a must read! This book shows that our current campus wars are rooted in sixty years of right-wing organizing against real and perceived progressivism in the nation's universities.”—Andrew Hartman, author of A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars

"At once a valuable historical contribution and a work of ripped-from-the-headlines timeliness, Resistance from the Right zeroes in on the crucible of the late 1960s when student protest went both mainstream and militant, and conservatives built a coalition and an ethos from the task of resisting it. Chronicling three pivotal years with meticulous precision grounded in extensive archival and oral history research, Shephard definitively conveys how the New Right forged its distinctively puckish, trolling style in combat with—and imitation of—the sixties New Left and counterculture."—Sam Rosenfeld, author of The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era