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Personality conflicts and internal politics added to his frustrations. Fun raising efforts during the first year included direct mailing, membership dues, personal contact with potentially large donors, and adveretisments in conservative publications. His first order of business as Chairman was broaden the ACU's membership.
American conservative union records
The conservatives who gathered at the meeting realized that the conservative movement needed an organization similar to the ADA, one which would provide the leadership, unity, and resources necessary to gain political power.
Two of the ACU's primary objectives were to consolidate conservative intellectual resouces and to influence public opinion.
Conditions Governing Access note This collection is open to use in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Department of Archives and Manuscripts, Harold B. To call for items in the collection, ask for the call MSS and box and folder s as indicated in the following inventory.
The ACU has been active in raising funds, corresponding with conservative political leaders, supporting projects, helping candidates, providing advice, and addressing issues relating to conservative causes and political activities all over the United States.
The Republican party, which had been the vehicle for conservative action, lost whatever unity had ly existed. Under the direction of Frank S. Meyer, the ACU began commissioning and publishing scholarly studies on specific issues.
Two studies were completed in and received wide acclaim in the media. PAI's primary purpose was to influence key congressional votes through well orchestrated letter writing campaigns.
Despite personality conflicts, financial troubles, and the other "growing pains," the ACU's first year was a success; foundations were laid and the ACU remained viable. Ashbrook inherited a potential disaster form his predecessor.
To accomplish this, Ashbrook launched the "Action Now" program in Jue This program was deed to reach a ificant of the 25 million Americans who had voted for Goldwater in Through his program, Ashbrook hoped to rally "grassroots" suppport and increase ACU membership by establishing a network of conservative political action clubs on the congressional district level.
In SeptemberBruce again asked for approval of his reation. Conditions Governing Use note It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. This we have done. Bruce, was a conservative Republican Congressman from Indiana. To resolve the dilemma, the Board sent a telegram under its name to the organizers of the conference and informed them that it did not want Bruce to attend the conference.
Several news releases issued byu the ACU had also drawn atention to topics of concern. The of the election left the nation's Conservatives in a state of shock and bewilderment. The best of these was a study on the Vietnam conflict.
The first was the tremendous task of building an organization that could meld the splintered conservative movement into a unified whole, the second was surviving the strains and pressures incident to becoming a viable orgainzation. One additional area of ACU involvement in th e elections was the endorsement of presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Both of these objectives were furthered by ACU studies, news releases, and publications.
The merger combined the memberships of the two organizations and placed the entire operation under ACU leadership. Despite its problems with fundraising, the ACU accomplished many of its goals and covered most of its operating expenses during the first year. Credit must be given to the Harold B. Lee Library, Department of Archives and Manuscripts for all materials quoted in any published form. On November 7, just five days after the election, several conservative leaders gathered to discuss the future of America's conservative movement. The Goldwater campaign acted as a wedge which split the Republican party in two.
The Board admonished him to take a one month vacation before returning to his duties as Chairman. Some Board members believed it unwise to associate the ACU with radical right-wing groups, while other Board members contended that the ACU presence would have a stabilizing influence on the conference.
The recipient of this morass, John Ashbrook not only salvaged the ACU but transformed it into a stable and influential political organizaion. Directors submitted their reations to the Board in increasing s. The influence of the liberal organization, Americans for Democratic Action ADAwas noted as having had a ificant impact on the outcome of the eletion. One month later, Bruce submitted his reation; this time irrevocably. The PAI also informed byu Frederick MD dating public about bills affecting the role of government, alerted conservatives to issues requiring their concerted efforts, instructed the public on writing effective letters to their representatives, and directed the public as to who should best receive those letters.
During the elections, Rep. Bruce had crisscrossed the nation campaining on behalf of Senator Goldwater. In his letter of reation, Bruce summarized the progress of the ACU during his term as Charman: I reliquish my responsibilities with a feeling of satisfaction that in the face of extremely trying cirumstances The first several months of any organization must be utilized in laying a foundation upon which the future can be built.
Financial strains were just a small part fo the difficulties faced by Rep. Bruce during his term as Chairman. Having already agreed to be the keynote speaker at the conference, Bruce was reluctant to cancel his speaking engagement under his own name. The Board ulitmately decided againt having their Chairman participate in the conference. Other studies nearing completion covered topics such as urban renewal, voting, and the United Nations.
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Biographical History American organization, also referred to as the ACU, to coordinate conservative political action in the United States. In Septemberthe return on direct mailing was averaging a respctable 7. While the ACU's participation in the drafting of the Republican Platform was minimal, the expertise perpared the oragnization for a larger role in future GOP conventions. Of these methods, direct mailing proved to be the most productive and the ACU invested in it heavily.
Each time, the Board had to suspend ACU activities and search for a new fund raising director. It was this millieu that gave the American Conservative Union its birth. For several years he had campaigned literally without a rest; first to win his seat in Congress, then to support the Goldwater condidacy, and finally to promote to ACU. The unbearable pace at which he was living was taking a toll on both himself and his family. The Bruce Year: In December with a handful of administrators, a modest budget, and a small office in Washington, D. At this early stage of development, the ACU and its leadership faced two complex challenges.
In the years that followed, Battleline became the primary byu Frederick MD dating of the ACU and enjoyed a wide readership among Conservatives. Within 40 days, the American Conservative Union was organized to fill this role. The only problem the ACU had with direct mailing was consistency. His talent and experience as a speaker was again drawn upon when he became Chairman of the ACU in December of Over the next eight months, Bruce made approximately 45 speeches throughout the country on behalf of the ACU. The popularity of Bruce as a speaker brought much needed publicity and spupport to the newly-created organization-ACU membership grew to 3, in the first six months and reached 6, by Septemer but popularity also brought invitations to speak before "questionable" groups.
The idea of a news letter to cover the activities of the Republican Party was first discussed in January and eventually led to the creation of the Republican Battlelinelater renamed Battleline.
As with all library materials Fair Use laws apply. Conservative Republicans rallied behind the Senator, while the moderate and liberal Republicans sided with President Lyndon B. Once again as the election drew near, the polls and the papers predicted a landslide; and once again they were right. Whenever the level of donations fell, the staff had to be cut and political programs had to be postponed or scrapped. Mailings were sent to ACU members and other conservatives several times a year.
At a Board meeting on September 17,discussion centered around the Chairman's intention to speak at the upcoming "We the People" conference. The press, which had invested much time and effort in covering the race, declared Goldwater the winner long before the Republican convention in San Francisco. Several directors succedded in raising momentary surpluses, but none of them were able to sustain the kind of long-term that the ACU required. Fourteen news releases had been issued by the end of August and had received attention in the press. There was desperation on the Right.
Staff cuts and cost redutions soon crippled the ACU and raised doubts about its future. Duringfund raising ground to a halt on three different occaions. His request was unanimously rejected by the Board. Only four months after his election to the chair, Bruce asked that the Board accept his reation as Chairman. The pressure of getting the ACU off the ground had been considerably straining, but he had succeeded. The programs and publications introduced during the Ashbrook years raised the popularity and effectiveness of the ACU to new heights.
The Board drew the line between the ACU and what it considered to be less "responsible" groups within the conservative community. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
By May ofmany newspapers were reporting taht the ACU was dead. Issues began coming out in early By mid however, the roles had reversed; the ACU Report began documenting the activities of the ACU itself, while Battleline foucsed on national issues and news. Identifier: MSS Scope and Contents note Correspondence, notes, newsletters, memoranda, meeting minutes, charters, bylaws, resolutions, and miscellaneous items.