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Asia FirstChina and the Making of Modern American Conservatism$
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Joyce Mao

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226252711

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226252858.001.0001

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Onward, Christian Soldiers

Onward, Christian Soldiers

The John Birch Society

(p.105) 4 Onward, Christian Soldiers
Asia First

Joyce Mao

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the John Birch Society (JBS), which was founded in 1958 by Robert Welch, a candy company executive from Massachusetts. It takes the JBS as a case study of how grassroots activists ensured China’s longevity as a political issue. Examining Welch’s writings and the organization’s literature, the chapter outlines the centrality of Asia to the JBS’s establishment and subsequent belief system, demonstrating the inherent internationalism its members – many of whom lived in the burgeoning Sunbelt area – came to embrace. Considering that the group was named for an evangelical missionary, its fervor for converting U.S. citizens to aggressive anti-communism was apt. The JBS also yielded a model of grassroots activism that would shape the New Right for decades to come.

Keywords:   Robert Welch, John Birch Society, Sunbelt, missionaries, Henry Regnery

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