The Home of American Intellectual Conservatism — First Principles

February 21, 2019

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Edwards, Lee
Elizabeth Spalding - 09/16/10
Lifespan: (1932– )

A public relations figure in the early conservative movement, Lee Edwards is now a historian of American conservatism and a biographer of its major figures. A prolific writer, Edwards has authored or edited more than a dozen books and written more than 500 articles.

Edwards was born in 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, and educated at Duke University and the Sorbonne. His parents, dedicated anticommunists, introduced him to conservatism early in his life, and his father, Willard, a longtime reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune based mostly in Washington, D.C., introduced him to the skills of the written word.

Edwards was director of public information for the 1964 Goldwater for President campaign, a founding member of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), and the first editor of both the New Guard and Conservative Digest. In 1969, the New York Times called him the “voice of the Silent Majority.” Edwards has served as a public affairs consultant for key conservative organizations, including YAF, the American Conservative Union, the Committee for a Free China, American Council for World Freedom, and the Heritage Foundation, as well as for the Republican National Committee, Senators Strom Thurmond and Robert Dole, and the Nixon White House.

After receiving his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America, Edwards launched a second career, writing several significant books, including biographies of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Walter Judd. His Conservative Revolution: The Movement that Remade America (1999) chronicles conservatism from Robert Taft through Newt Gingrich, and his histories of the Heritage Foundation, Grove City College, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute document these organizations’ contributions to the conservative movement.

Edwards is currently senior editor of the World & I and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Further Reading
  • Edwards, Lee. The Essential Ronald Reagan: A Profile in Courage, Justice, and Wisdom. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004.
  • ———. Mediapolitik: How the Mass Media Have Transformed World Politics. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2001.
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