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We sometimes think of conservatives as being stronger on national defense than liberals, but this is not always true. During the twentieth century, conservative and liberal leaders worked to strengthen the American military and sometimes engaged in war. For instance, in the 1960s and 1970s, John F. Kennedy increased military spending dramatically, and Lyndon Johnson greatly expanded America’s role in the Vietnam War.

American Conservatism

American conservatism argues that the government’s main job is to protect freedom and provide security. Beyond that, the government should stay out of people’s lives and should allow people to do, act, and behave as they see fit. According to conservatives, freedom trumps equality: The government should promote the former, regardless of how expanded freedoms might affect equality.

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