Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Patricia Minter (Director), Anthony Harkins, Tamara Van Dyken

Degree Program

Department of History

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Satisfying a campaign pledge to the National Education Association (NEA), President Jimmy Carter pushed for a federal Department of Education in 1978 and 1979. In the ensuing legislative battle, Carter confronted opposition from states’ rights, social, and religious conservatives that were beginning to form the nucleus of the New Right in the Republican Party. Using divisive racial and religious issues, these conservatives tried, and failed, to thwart the Department of Education project. Congressional testimony, the Carter administration’s internal documents, and newspaper editorials illustrate that the Department of Education battle foreshadowed the Reagan Revolution of 1980.


History | Political History | United States History