1980 June 6

Conflict Sinks Carter White House Conference on the Family


Some prominent conservative activists on this day staged a public protest and walked out of the first day of the White House Conference on the Family. President Jimmy Carter planned a conference on the family as part of his effort to make federal laws and policies more family-friendly. His plans were sabotaged, however, when conservative groups organized and gained representation at the conference, where they pressed a social agenda that conflicted with the president’s liberal agenda.

The conservative social agenda included many anti-civil liberties points on abortion, birth control, and women working outside the home. Fights during the planning process delayed the conference until the very end of Carter’s presidency. Although the final conference report did reflect the liberal agenda, it came so late that it had no real impact.

President Ronald Reagan, elected in November 1980, embraced the conservative family policies advocated by conservatives at this conference.

Learn more about the history of the family in America: Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (1992)

Hear Stephanie Coontz discuss the history of the family: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIeAnU7_7TA

Learn more about President Carter’s civil liberties record: Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties From Wilson to Obama (2012)

Learn more about Carter’s post-presidential work at the Carter Center: http://www.cartercenter.org/index.html

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!