What are the origins of modern conservatism? The failed Goldwater campaign? Or the Cold War era discontent of midwestern small capitalists? Historian Kathryn Olmstead argues that it should be located even earlier, in the intense and massive labor unrest that took place in the fields of California in the 1930s. The response by growers and other elites pioneered methods that have become familiar today, from deploying populist rhetoric in the interests of big business to funding ostensibly grassroots organizations.
Kathryn Olmstead, Right Out of California: The Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism The New Press, 2015