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Taxation as tyranny: American Progress and the ultraconservative movement

Radical Americas

UCL Press

conservatism, Liberty Amendment, libertarianism, radical right, Willis E. Stone, American Progress

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      Willis E. Stone watched aghast as mid-century liberals expanded the size and power of the federal government. Stone, a former industrial engineer and unbending anti-statist, believed this liberal surge obfuscated and abetted an imminent red tide of communism. He founded the American Progress Foundation and its flagship periodical, American Progress, to spread a hardline libertarian message, hoping to spark conservative resistance against federal power. In the pages of American Progress, Stone and a coterie of other right-wingers published conspiratorial, anti-statist diatribes and promoted Stone’s proposal, the Liberty Amendment, to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. Right-wing business owners joined the fray, sponsoring American Progress through advertisements, and over time Stone’s movement expanded to form a collaborative network with other far-right groups. This article illustrates how American Progress served as an activist and ideological nexus for the broader ultraconservative movement, which helped establish a hardline brand of libertarianism that reverberated throughout the modern American Right. Furthermore, by analysing the scope and influence of radical right-wing publications, this article provides a critical counterweight to the traditional left-wing focus of periodical studies.

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      Most cited references 48

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            Author and article information

            Houston Community College
            Author notes
            Radical Americas
            Radic. Am.
            UCL Press
            30 November 2018
            : 3
            : 1
            © 2018, John S. Huntington.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI:

            Pages: 18
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            Huntington, J. S. ‘Taxation as tyranny: American Progress and the ultraconservative movement.’ Radical Americas, 3, 1 (2018): 10. DOI:
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