Through a sustained historical analysis of three of the most important issues in American politics--Social Security, environmental regulation, and federal education policy--Conservatism and American Political Development explores how conservatives have helped shape U.S. domestic policy and howthe growth of the American state has in turn shaped conservatism. Featuring leading scholars of American political development, the book traces the evolution of each issue over the course of three epochs: the New Deal, the Great Society era, and the Reagan era. Throughout, it emphasizes the ironicrole of conservatism in the expansion of the American state. As conservatives increased their presence in the federal apparatus, they were frequently co-opted into maintaining or even expanding regulatory and public fiscal power. At times, conservatives also came to accept the existence of theliberal state, but attempted to use it to achieve conservative policy ends. Despite conservatives' power in U.S. politics and governance over the last quarter century, "big government" remains. As Conservatism and American Political Development shows, conservatism has not only helped shape thestate, but has been shaped by it as well.