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Mothers of ConservatismWomen and the Postwar Right$
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Michelle M. Nickerson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691121840

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691121840.001.0001

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“Siberia, U.S.A.”

“Siberia, U.S.A.”

Psychological Experts and the State

(p.103) Chapter IV “Siberia, U.S.A.”
Mothers of Conservatism

Michelle M. Nickerson

Princeton University Press

This chapter documents how activism in education politics turned the attention of conservative women to professional psychology as a logical next target. Fears of “brainwashing” segued into fears of mental health professionals and the policy making they promoted in Washington, D.C., resulting in conservative protest of an amorphous “mental health establishment.” Anticommunist activists characterized psychology as a dangerous medicine that could be used to manipulate thought and, by extension, political will. Although conservative intellectuals scoffed at the conspiracy theories circulated by the “hysterical” housewives, the women's arguments nevertheless found their way into criticism articulated by scholars and politicians by the mid-1960s.

Keywords:   conservative movement, conservative women, education politics, professional psychology, mental health professionals, anticommunism

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