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The American Conservative
October 2016 issue
Executive DirectorCurt Mills[1]
CategoriesEditorial magazine
FrequencyOnce every two months
PublisherThe American Ideas Institute[3]
First issueOctober 7, 2002; 21 years ago (2002-10-07)
CountryUnited States
Based inWashington, D.C., U.S.

The American Conservative (TAC) is a magazine published by the American Ideas Institute which was founded in 2002. Originally published twice a month, it was reduced to monthly publication in August 2009, and since February 2013, it has been published once every two months.[4]

The publication states that it exists to promote a conservatism that opposes unchecked power in government and business, promotes the concept of the nuclear family, free markets, and supports realism and restraint in foreign affairs based on America's national interests, otherwise known as paleoconservatism.[5]


The American Conservative was founded by Pat Buchanan, Scott McConnell and Taki Theodoracopulos[6][7] in October 2002.[8] The magazine took a paleoconservative character, aiming to counter the neoconservative positions of the National Review and The Weekly Standard. It was critical of the Bush administration and in particular of its invasion of Iraq.[8]

In the first issue, dated 7 October 2002, the editorial by Buchanan and Taki stated that the new publication aimed "to ignite the conversations that conservatives ought to have engaged in since the end of thr Cold War, but didn't." It continued that much of what then passed for conservatism was "wedded to a kind of radicalism – fantasies of global hegemony, the hubristic notion of America as a universal nation for all the world's peoples, a hyperglobal economy."[9] In the same issue, an article by Buchanan challenged the Iraq War, asking "What comes after all the celebratory gunfire when wicked Saddam is dead?"[6]

Until early 2005, Buchanan and Taki served as the magazine's editors, with McConnell as executive editor, while Taki was its publisher.[9][10] Kara Hopkins was the next executive editor.[11]

In its early years, the magazine called for an amendment to the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.[9]

Before the 2006 midterm elections, The American Conservative urged its readers to vote for Democrats: "It should surprise few readers that we think a vote that is seen—in America and the world at large—as a decisive “No” vote on the Bush presidency is the best outcome".[12]

Buchanan and Taki retired as editors, and Taki as publisher, in 2005, although Buchanan continued to write for it.[9] Ron Unz was the publisher as of 2007.[13][14] In 2011, Wick Allison became the magazine's publisher, followed in 2013 by Jon Basil Utley, the current publisher.[3]

In 2010, Daniel McCarthy succeeded Hopkins as editor. In September 2011, the magazine introduced an editorial redesign of its print publication and in May 2012 a redesign of its website. In October 2014, Benjamin Schwarz, the former national and literary editor of The Atlantic, was named national editor of the magazine.[15]

In November 2016, Robert W. Merry succeeded McCarthy as editor, with Lewis McCrary and Kelley Beaucar Vlahos as Executive Editors. After Merry's retirement in July 2018, W. James Antle III was named editor.[16]

In April 2020, Johnny Burtka, executive director and acting editor of The American Conservative, said that the publication's ambition is to "become The Atlantic of the right" and said its online page views had "grown significantly" under the Trump administration.[17]


In 2004, Peter Carlson wrote in The Washington Post that for scathing attacks on Bush and the invasion of Iraq, The American Conservative might have the edge over The Nation, Mother Jones, and The Progressive.[18]

In 2009, Reihan Salam, National Review editor, wrote that the publication had "gained a devoted following as a sharp critic of the conservative mainstream".[19]

In 2012, David Brooks, columnist at The New York Times, called The American Conservative "one of the more dynamic spots on the political Web" and said its "writers like Rod Dreher and Daniel Larison tend to be suspicious of bigness: big corporations, big government, a big military, concentrated power and concentrated wealth."[20]


Contributors to The American Conservative have included Helen Andrews,[21] Andrew Bacevich,[22] Doug Bandow,[23] Pat Buchanan,[24] Andrew Cockburn,[25] Rod Dreher,[26] Paul Gottfried,[27] Leon Hadar,[28] James Kurth,[29] Christopher Layne,[30] Michael Lind,[31] William S. Lind,[32] Douglas Macgregor,[33] Eric Margolis,[34] Scott McConnell,[35] Robert W. Merry,[36] Rand Paul,[37] Mark Perry,[38] Scott Ritter,[39] Steve Sailer,[40] Paul W. Schroeder,[41] Benjamin Schwarz,[42] Roger Scruton,[43] Taki Theodoracopulos,[44] and Ron Unz.[45]

See also


  1. ^ "Curt Mills", The American Conservative, accessed 15 June 2024
  2. ^ Frank, T.A. (January 25, 2018). "Welcome to the Golden Age of Conservative Magazines". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Masthead".
  4. ^ "Archive". The American Conservative. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  5. ^ "About Us". The American Conservative. February 28, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Gregory L. Schneider, The Conservative Century: From Reaction to Revolution (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), p. 212
  7. ^ "Patrick J. Buchanan Papers, White House Special Files, 01/21/1969 - 12/31/1972", Online Archive of California, accessed 14 February 2023
  8. ^ a b Marcus M. Witcher, Getting Right with Reagan: The Struggle for True Conservatism, 1980–2016 (University Press of Kansas, 2019), p. 230
  9. ^ a b c d Jeremy Beer, "American Conservative", in Bruce Frohnen, ed., American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia (2014), pp. 1,914–1,915
  10. ^ Andrej Kreutz, Russia's Place in the World (Algora Publishing, 2015), p. 188
  11. ^ News Media Yellow Book (2006), p. 600
  12. ^ "GOP Must Go". The American Conservative. November 20, 2006.
  13. ^ Sixsmith, Ben (September 15, 2018). "The curious case of Ron Unz". The Spectator. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  14. ^ "California Anti-Bilingual Proposition King Ron Unz to be Next Publisher of The American Conservative". The Washington Note. March 19, 2007. Archived from the original on March 28, 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2007.
  15. ^ "The American Conservative Names Benjamin Schwarz National Editor". The American Conservative. October 15, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  16. ^ McConnell, Scott (October 15, 2018). "James Antle is New Editor of The American Conservative". The American Conservative. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  17. ^ Ecarma, Caleb (April 27, 2020). ""Call It the Tucker Carlson Wing of the GOP": The American Conservative Wants to Be the Atlantic of the Right". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  18. ^ Alexander Konetzki, "The American Conservative Crackup: Why I quit Pat Buchanan’s magazine", The Washington Monthly, accessed June 15, 2004
  19. ^ Salam, Reihan (March 13, 2009). "The Mark Sanford Revolution?". The Atlantic.
  20. ^ Brooks, David (November 19, 2012). "The Conservative Future". The New York Times.
  21. ^ "Helen Andrews". The American Conservative.
  22. ^ "Andrew J. Bacevich". The American Conservative. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  23. ^ "Doug Bandow". The American Conservative. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  24. ^ "Patrick J. Buchanan". The American Conservative. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  25. ^ "Andrew Cockburn". The American Conservative. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  26. ^ "Rod Dreher". The American Conservative. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  27. ^ "Paul Gottfried". The American Conservative.
  28. ^ "Leon Hadar". The American Conservative.
  29. ^ "James Kurth". The American Conservative.
  30. ^ "Christopher Layne". The American Conservative.
  31. ^ "Michael Lind". The American Conservative.
  32. ^ "William S. Lind". The American Conservative.
  33. ^ "Douglas Macgregor". The American Conservative.
  34. ^ "Eric S. Margolis". The American Conservative.
  35. ^ "Scott McConnell". The American Conservative.
  36. ^ "Robert W. Merry". The American Conservative.
  37. ^ "Rand Paul". The American Conservative.
  38. ^ "Mark Perry". The American Conservative.
  39. ^ "Scott Ritter". The American Conservative.
  40. ^ "Steve Sailer". The American Conservative.
  41. ^ "Paul W. Schroeder". The American Conservative.
  42. ^ "Benjamin Schwarz". The American Conservative.
  43. ^ "Roger Scruton". The American Conservative.
  44. ^ "Taki". The American Conservative.
  45. ^ "Ron Unz". The American Conservative.