From the archives: 'What Maggie Hath Wrought'

Now featured on our home page, E. J. Dionne Jr.s 1991 take on the legacy of Margaret Thatcher. Dionne noted that the prime minister was far more popular in the United States than she was in Britain, in part because "she seemed to like us so relentlessly. Her pro-Americanism was visceral." Also:

The American Right had special reasons for loving her. She took power a year before Ronald Reagan did, and was, for American conservatives, the John the Baptist of the Reagan Revolution. Between them, Reagan and Thatcher seemed to herald a new international turn to the Right, a turn in favor of unfettered markets and traditional values, and against the welfare state. Although small-c conservatives have always been (rightly) wary of Big Theories about the Big Forces of History, parts of the Anglo-American Right in the 1980s often sounded like historical determinists. They spoke of the ineluctable move toward capitalism and the withering away of the state.To make this case, conservatives had to put aside a lot of evidence. For example, Reagan and Thatcher owed their victories to the very same sort of economic discontent that also brought Francois Mitterand and the French Socialists to power in 1981. It was hard to argue for a big international pendulum swing to the Right when France, the country that invented the whole idea of "Left" and "Right," was heading Left.

Read the whole thing here.

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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