Phyllis Schlafly

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Person.png Phyllis Schlafly   Amazon Sourcewatch WikiquoteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(lawyer, activist)
Phyllis Schlafly by Gage Skidmore 4.jpg
In 2011
BornPhyllis McAlpin Stewart
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died2016-09-05 (Age 92)
Ladue, Missouri, U.S.
Alma materWashington University, Radcliffe College
Children • including
• Andrew
SpouseJohn Schlafly
Interests • US Republican Party
• Bilderberg Group
US conservative activist

Phyllis Stewart Schlafly was an American attorney, conservative activist and author. She held traditional conservative social and political views, opposed feminism, gay rights and abortion, and successfully campaigned against ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She was opposed in turn by moderates and liberals for her attitudes on sex, gender roles, homosexuality and a number of other issues. More than three million copies of her self-published book, A Choice Not an Echo (1964), a polemic against Republican leader Nelson Rockefeller, were sold or distributed for free. Schlafly co-authored books on national defense and was critical of arms control agreements with the Soviet Union.[1] In 1972, Schlafly founded the Eagle Forum, a conservative political interest group, and remained its chair and CEO until her death in 2016 while staying active in traditional conservative causes.

Phyllis Schlafly claimed in her 1964 book A Choice, Not An Echo that the US Republican Party were being manipulated by elitist intellectuals in the Bilderberg group.[2]

Activism and political efforts

In 1946, Schlafly became a researcher for the American Enterprise Institute and worked in the successful United States House of Representatives campaign of Republican Claude I. Bakewell.[3]

She played a major role with her husband in 1957 in writing a highly influential report, the "American Bar Association's Report on Communist Tactics, Strategy, and Objectives." Critchlow says it, "became not only one of the most widely read documents ever produced by the ABA, it was probably the single most widely read publication of the grassroots anticommunist movement."[4]

In 1952, Schlafly ran for Congress as a Republican in the majority Democratic 24th congressional district of Illinois and lost to Charles Melvin Price by 117,408 votes (64.80%) to 63,778 (35.20%).[5] Schlafly's campaign was low-budget and promoted heavily through the local print media, and the major munitions manufacturers John M. Olin and Spencer Truman Olin, and the Texas oil billionaire H. L. Hunt.[6]

She attended her first Republican National Convention in 1952, and continued to attend each following convention. As part of the Illinois delegation of the 1952 Republican convention, Schlafly endorsed U.S. Senator Robert A. Taft to be the party nominee for the presidential election.[7] At the 1960 Republican National Convention, Schlafly helped lead a revolt of "moral conservatives" who opposed Richard Nixon's stance "against segregation and discrimination."[8] Schlafly was the Republican nominee for Illinois's 24th congressional district again in 1960, losing again to Price, this time by 144,560 votes (72.22%) to 55,620 (27.79%).

She came to national attention when millions of copies of her self-published book, A Choice Not an Echo, were distributed in support of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign, especially in California's hotly fought winner-take-all-delegates GOP primary.[9] In it, Schlafly denounced the Rockefeller Republicans in the Northeast, accusing them of corruption and globalism. Critics called the book a conspiracy theory about "secret kingmakers" controlling the Republican Party.[10] Schlafly had previously been a member of the John Birch Society, but quit, and later denied she had been a member because she feared that her association with the organization would damage the reputation of the book. By mutual agreement her books were not mentioned in the John Birch Society's magazine, and the distribution of her books by the society was handled so as to mask their involvement. The society was able to dispense 300,000 copies of A Choice Not an Echo in California prior to the June 2, 1964 GOP primary.[11] Gardiner Johnson, Republican National Committee for California, stated that the distribution of her book in California was a major factor in Goldwater's winning the nomination.[12]

In 1967, Schlafly lost a bid for the presidency of the National Federation of Republican Women against the more moderate candidate Gladys O'Donnell of California. Outgoing NFRW president and future United States Treasurer Dorothy Elston of Delaware worked against Schlafly in the campaign.[13]

In 1970, she ran unsuccessfully for Illinois's 23rd congressional district, losing to Democratic incumbent George E. Shipley by 91,158 votes (53.97%) to 77,762 (46.04%). She never sought public office again.

American feminists made their greatest bid for national attention at the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston; however, historian Marjorie J. Spruill argues that the anti-feminists led by Schlafly organized a highly successful counter-conference, the Pro-Life, Pro-Family Rally, to protest the National Women's Conference and make it clear that feminists did not speak for them. At their rally at the Astro Arena they had an overflow of over 15,000 people,[14] and announced the beginning of a pro-family movement to oppose politicians who had been supporting feminism and liberalism, and to promote "family values" in American politics, and so moved the Republican Party to the right and defeated the ratification of the ERA.[15]

United Nations and international relations

Over the years, Schlafly disdained the United Nations. On the 50th anniversary of the UN in 1995, she referred to it as "a cause for mourning, not celebration. It is a monument to foolish hopes, embarrassing compromises, betrayal of our servicemen, and a steady stream of insults to our nation. It is a Trojan Horse that carries the enemy into our midst and lures Americans to ride under alien insignia to fight and die in faraway lands." She opposed President Bill Clinton's decision in 1996 to send 20,000 American troops to Bosnia during the Yugoslav Wars. Schlafly noted that Balkan nations have fought one another for 500 years and argued that the U.S. military should not be "policemen" of world trouble spots.[16]

Prior to the 1994 Congressional elections, Schlafly condemned globalization through the World Trade Organization as a "direct attack on American sovereignty, independence, jobs, and economy ... any country that must change its laws to obey rulings of a world organization has sacrificed its sovereignty."[17]

In late 2006, Schlafly collaborated with Jerome Corsi and Howard Phillips to create a website in opposition to the idea of a "North American Union", under which the United States, Mexico, and Canada would share a currency and be integrated in a structure similar to the European Union.[18]

During the Cold War, Schlafly opposed arms control agreements with the Soviet Union. In 1961, she wrote that "[arms control] will not stop Red aggression any more than disarming our local police will stop murder, theft, and rape."[19]


  1. Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000. Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. New York: Guilford Press, p. 202.
  3. Critchlow 2005, pp. 25–29.
  4. Critchlow 2005, [
  5. Critchlow 2005, pp. 47–59.
  6. Critchlow 2005, p. 55.
  7. Critchlow 2005, p. 46.
  8. Warner, Judith. She Changed America, New York Times, January 29, 2006.
  9. Critchlow, Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism (2005), p 109
  10. Berlet and Lyons. 2000. Right–Wing Populism in America, pp. 180, 202.
  11. 20, 2020
  12. Schlafly, Phyllis (1964). A Choice Not An Echo. Pere Marquette Press. pp. preface.
  13. Critchlow 2005, pp. 138-59.
  16. Donald Critchlow, Founding Mother-Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade ,2005 pp. 298–99
  17. Critchlow 2005, p. 298
  19. Phyllis Schlafly, "Communist Master Plan for 1961", Cardinal Mindszenty Newsletter, February 15, 1961.