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Barry Morris Goldwater

Goldwater, Barry Morris, 1909–98, U.S. senator (1953–65, 1969–87), b. Phoenix, Ariz. He studied at the Univ. of Arizona, but left in 1929 to enter his family's department-store business. After noncombat service in World War II, he won election to the Phoenix city council. In the U.S. Senate, Goldwater advocated state right-to-work laws, a reduction of public ownership of utilities, and decreases in welfare and foreign aid appropriations. He attacked subversive activities and opposed the senatorial censure of Joseph R. McCarthy. Goldwater became the acknowledged leader of the extreme conservative wing of the Republican party. In 1964, as the Republican presidential nominee, he was decisively defeated by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Nonetheless, many believe that Goldwater initiated a conservative revolution in Republican politics and American public opinion that ultimately led to the election (1980) of President Ronald Reagan. Goldwater was again elected to the Senate in 1968, 1974, and 1980. In his later years, Goldwater, basically libertarian, often clashed with cultural conservatives. He wrote The Conscience of a Conservative (1960), Why Not Victory? (1962), The Conscience of a Majority (1970), and Goldwater (1988) with Jack Casserly. His son Barry Morris Goldwater, Jr., 1938–, b. Los Angeles, was a U.S. congressman from California (1968–83).

See biographies by L. Edwards (1995) and R. A. Goldberg (1995); studies by K. Hess (1967), J. H. Kessel (1968), and R. Perlstein (2001).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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