However, the major job of rooting out communists from labor unions and the Democratic party was undertaken by liberals, such as Walter Reuther of the autoworkers union  and Ronald Reagan of the Screen Actors Guild Reagan was a Democrat at that time. One typical mid-century conservative Republican in Congress was Noah M.
Mason — , who represented a rural downstate district in Illinois from to Less flamboyant and less well known than his colleague Everett McKinley Dirksen , he ardently supported states' rights in order to minimize the federal role, for he feared federal regulation of business. He distrusted Roosevelt, and gave many speeches against high federal spending. He called out New Dealers, such as Eveline M. Burns , Henry A. Wallace , Adolph A. Berle, Jr. Porter , as socialists, and suggested their policies resembled fascism. In , Lionel Trilling wrote that conservatives had lost the battle of ideas: "In the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition.
For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation. When the communist North Korea invaded South Korea in Truman adopted a rollback strategy, planning to free the entire country by force. Truman decided not to obtain Congressional approval for his war—he relied on UN approval—which left the Republicans free to attack his war policies.
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Taft said Truman's decision was "a complete usurpation by the president. With the Allies on the verge of victory, the Chinese communists entered the war and drove the Allies back with terrific fighting in sub-zero weather. Truman reversed positions, dropped the rollback policy, and fired the conservative hero General Douglas MacArthur who wanted rollback , and settled for containment. Truman's acceptance of the status quo at a cost of 37, Americans killed and undermined Truman's base of support. Truman did poorly in the early primaries and was forced to drop his reelection bid. When anxiety over Communism in Korea and China reached a fever pitch, an otherwise obscure Senator, Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, launched extremely high-visibility investigations into the alleged network of communist spies in the government.
Kennedy a job with McCarthy. McCarthy's careless tactics, however, allowed his opponents to effectively counterattack. McCarthy talked of "twenty years of treason" i. In , he started talking of "21 years of treason" and launched a major attack on the Army for promoting a communist dentist in the medical corps; this was too much for Eisenhower, who encouraged Republicans to censure McCarthy formally in The Senator's power collapsed overnight.
Senator John F. Kennedy did not vote for censure. Arthur Herman states, "McCarthy was always a more important figure to American liberals than to conservatives", because he defined the liberal target, and made liberals look like innocent victims. As shown by General Dwight D. Eisenhower 's defeat of Senator Robert A. Eisenhower then won the election by crusading against what he called Truman's failures: "Korea, Communism and Corruption. As President, Eisenhower promoted "Modern Republicanism," involving limited government, balanced budgets, and curbing government spending.
Although taking a firm anti-Communist position, he and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles didn't push for rollback and continued the Truman administration's policy of containment. He cut defense spending by shifting the national strategy from reliance on expensive army divisions to cheap nuclear weapons. Although he made efforts to eliminate expensive supports for farm prices, he was ultimately unsuccessful, but he met success in reducing the role of the federal government by returning offshore oil reserves to the states.
Eisenhower kept the regulatory and welfare policies of the New Deal , with the Republicans taking credit for the expansion of Social Security. He also sought to minimize conflict among economic and racial groups in the quest for social harmony, peace and prosperity. He was reelected by a landslide in While Republicans in Washington were making small reversals of the New Deal, the most critical opposition to liberalism came from conservative intellectuals. Russell Kirk — claimed that both classical and modern liberalism placed too much emphasis on economic issues and failed to address man's spiritual nature, and called for a plan of action for a conservative political movement.
He claimed that conservative leaders should appeal to farmers, small towns, the churches, and others, following the example of the British Conservative Party. Kirk adamantly opposed libertarian ideas, which he saw as a threat to true conservatism. In Libertarians: the Chirping Sectaries Kirk wrote that the only thing libertarians and conservatives have in common is a detestation of collectivism. The answer to that question is simple: nothing.
Nor will they ever have. The most effective organizer and proponent of conservative ideas was William F. Buckley, Jr. Although before, there had been numerous small right-wing circulation magazines, the National Review was able to gain national attention and shaped the conservative movement due to strong editing and a strong stable of regular contributors. Erudite, witty and tireless, Buckley inspired a new enthusiasm for the movement. Rusher Geoffrey Kabaservice asserts, "in many ways it was Rusher, not Buckley who was the founding father of the conservative movement as it currently exists.
We have Rusher, not Buckley, to thank for the populist, operationally sophisticated, and occasionally extremist elements that characterize the contemporary movement. Buckley and Rusher assembled an eclectic group of writers: traditionalists, Catholic intellectuals, libertarians and ex-Communists. The launching of a conservative weekly journal of opinion in a country widely assumed to be a bastion of conservatism at first glance looks like a work of supererogation, rather like publishing a royalist weekly within the walls of Buckingham Palace.
It is not that of course; if National Review is superfluous, it is so for very different reasons: It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no other is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it. Austrian economist F. Hayek — in galvanized opponents of the New Deal by arguing that the left in Britain was leading that nation down the "road to serfdom".
More influential was the Chicago school of economics , led by Milton Friedman — and George J. Stigler — , who advocated neoclassical and monetarist public policy. The Chicago School provided a vigorous criticism of regulation, on the grounds that it led to control of the regulations by the regulated industries themselves. Since , government regulation of industry and banking has greatly decreased. The "stagflation" of the s combining high inflation and high unemployment was impossible according to Keynesian models,  but was predicted by Friedman, giving his approach credibility among the experts.
By the late s, Ebenstein argues, Friedman was "the most prominent conservative public intellectual at least in the United States and probably in the world. According to Friedman, Americans should be "Free to Choose". He convinced many conservatives that the practice of military drafting was inefficient and unfair; consequently, Nixon ended it in Nine Chicago School economists won the Nobel prize for economics. Their views about deregulation and fiscal policy became widely accepted, following the crisis in the s.
However, Friedman's "monetarism" did not fare as well, with current monetary practice targeting inflation, not the money supply. Robert W. Welch Jr. It had tens of thousands of members and distributed books, pamphlets and the magazine American Opinion. It was so tightly controlled by Welch that its effectiveness was strictly limited, as it mostly focused on calls to impeach Chief Justice Earl Warren , as well as supporting local police.
In , Buckley won the support of Goldwater and other leading conservatives for an attack on Welch. The main disagreement between Kirk, who would become described as a traditionalist conservative , and the libertarians was whether tradition and virtue or liberty should be their primary concern. Frank Meyer tried to resolve the dispute with " fusionism ": America could not conserve its traditions without economic freedom. He also noted that they were united in opposition to "big government" and made anti-communism the glue that would unite them.
The term "conservative" was used to describe the views of National Review supporters, despite initial protests from the libertarians, because the term "liberal" had become associated with "New Deal" supporters. They were also later known as the " New Right ", as opposed to the New Left. Despite the popular perception that conservatism is limited to Republicans, during the era of segregation before many Southern Democrats were also conservative , especially about social and racial issues. Southern Democrats were a key part of a Conservative Coalition that largely blocked liberal labor legislation in Congress from to , though they tended to be liberal and vote with the rest of the Democratic Party on other economic issues.
That argument collapsed when Congress banned segregation in This provided an opportunity for Republicans to appeal to conservative Southerners on the basis that the GOP was the more conservative party on a wide range of social and economic issues, as well as being hawkish on foreign policy when the antiwar forces gained strength in the Democratic party. Southern white conservatives moved from the Democratic Party to the GOP at the presidential level in the s, and at the state and local level after Democrat George Wallace , the newly elected governor of Alabama, in January electrified the white South by crying out for " Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!
He later stood in the schoolhouse door in a failed attempt to stop federal officials from desegregating the University of Alabama. Wallace communicated traditional conservatism in a populist, anti-elitist and "earthy" language that resonated with rural and working class voters who long had been part of the New Deal Coalition. He was able to exploit anticommunism, yearnings for "traditional" American values and dislike of civil rights agitators, anti-war protesters and sexual exhibitionists. The Wallace movement did help break away a major element of the New Deal coalition—less educated, powerless low income whites  —which decades later made its way into the GOP in the South.
He helped pave the way for the conservative backlash of the s and s. He accused liberals of using the federal government to interfere in "everybody's private business" and as a conservative believed in "freedom for business and labor". Conservatives united behind the presidential campaign of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater — , though his campaign was ultimately unsuccessful. Goldwater published The Conscience of a Conservative , a bestselling book that explained modern conservative theory.
Forgotten Conservatives in American History
Goldwater was significantly weakened by his unpopular views regarding social security, income tax, and the war in Vietnam. In Tennessee, he suggested selling the Tennessee Valley Authority , which was a favorite for conservatives in its region. Support for the campaign came from numerous grassroots activists, such as Phyllis Schlafly and the newly formed Young Americans for Freedom , sponsored by Buckley to mobilize conservatives.
Buckley himself tried to win the mayoral election of New York, but failed. Despite Goldwater's defeat conservatives were rapidly organizing at the local, state, and national levels. They were most successful in suburban California, where they worked hard in for their new hero Ronald Reagan — , who was elected governor for two terms. Reagan was the leader of a dramatic conservative shift in American politics, that undercut many of the domestic and foreign policies that had dominated the national agenda for decades. The common thread was a growing distrust of government to do the right thing on behalf of the people.
While distrust of high officials had been an American characteristic for two centuries, this was brought to the forefront by the Watergate scandal of that forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon , who faced impeachment , as well as criminal trials for many of his senior associates. The media was energized in its vigorous search for scandals, which deeply impacted both major parties at the national, state and local levels.
The postwar consensus regarding the value of technology in solving national problems, especially nuclear power, came under heavy attack from the New Left. Conservatives at the state and local levels increasingly emphasized the argument that the soaring crime rates indicated a failure of liberal policy in the American cities. Meanwhile, liberalism was facing divisive issues, as the New Left challenged established liberals on such issues as the Vietnam War, while building a constituency on campuses and among younger voters.
A "cultural war" was emerging as a triangular battle among conservatives, liberals, and the New Left, involving such issues as individual freedom, divorce, sexuality, and even topics such as hair length and musical taste. The triumphal issue for liberalism was the achievement of civil rights legislation in the s, which won over the black population and created a new black electorate in the South. However, it alienated many working-class ethnic whites, and opened the door for conservative white Southerners to move into the Republican Party.
In foreign policy, The war in Vietnam was a highly divisive issue in the s. Reagan saw the Soviet Union as an implacable enemy that had to be defeated, not compromised with. A new element emerged in Iran, with the overthrow of a pro-American government, and the emergence of the stream the hostile ayatollahs. Radical students seized the American Embassy, and held American diplomats hostage for over a year, underscoring the weaknesses of the foreign policy of Jimmy Carter.
The economic scene was in doldrums, with soaring inflation undercutting the savings pattern of millions of Americans, while unemployment remained high and growth was low. Shortages of gasoline at the local pump made the energy crisis a local reality. Reagan increasingly dominated the conservative movement, especially in his failed quest for the Republican presidential nomination and his successful run in An unexpected new factor was the emergence of the religious right as a cohesive political force that gave strong support to conservatism. By the s, many conservatives emphasized the Judeo-Christian roots of their values.
Evangelicals had been politicized in the s, battling to impose prohibition and to stop the teaching of evolution in the schools as in the Scopes Trial of , but had largely been politically quiet since the s.
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According to Wilcox and Robinson, "The Christian Right is an attempt to restore Judeo-Christian values to a country that is in deep moral decline Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, which brought together Catholics who had long opposed abortion and evangelical Protestants who were new to the issue. Noting the anger of Catholic bishops at losing state funding because of the Catholic opposition to gay adoptive parents, along with other social issues, the New York Times reported in late that:. The s saw the movement of many prominent liberal intellectuals to the right, many of them from New York City Jewish roots and well-established academic reputations,  who had become disillusioned with liberalism.
Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss were founders of the movement. The magazines Commentary and Public Interest were their key outlets, as well as op-ed articles for major newspapers and position papers for think tanks. Activists around Democratic senator Henry Jackson became deeply involved as well. Jaffa and novelist Saul Bellow.
Neoconservatives generally support pro-business policies. The growth of conservatism within the Republican Party attracted white conservative Southern Democrats in presidential elections. Starting in , in the South the GOP dominated most presidential elections was the lone exception , but not until the s did the GOP become dominant in state and local politics in the region. Through the Southern strategy , Republicans built their strength among Southern Baptists and other religious Fundamentalists, white social conservatives, middle-class suburbs, migrants from the North, and Cubans in Florida.
Meanwhile, starting in , African American voters in the South began to show overwhelming support for the Democratic Party at both the presidential and local levels. They elected a number of congressmen and mayors. In , there were still many moderate white Democrats holding office in the South, but when they retired they were typically replaced by much more conservative Republicans or by liberal blacks. The evangelical Protestants, comprising the "Religious Right", have since the s strongly influenced the vote in Republican primaries, for "it is primarily in the South where the evangelical core of the GOP is strongest.
In , Lewis F. Powell Jr. In Powell's view, this would involve monitoring "national television networks…; induc[ing] more 'publishing' by independent scholars who do believe in the [free enterprise] system"; publishing in "magazines and periodicals—ranging from the popular magazines to the more intellectual ones"; issuing "books, paperbacks, and pamphlets"; and dedicating advertising dollars to "a sustained, major effort to inform and enlighten the American people.
They typically focused on projects with immediate policy implications. Aware that the Brookings Institution had played an influential role for decades in promoting liberal ideas, the Heritage Foundation was designed as a counterpart on the right. Both think tanks became more oriented to the news media, more aggressively ideological, and more focused on rapid-response production and shorter publications. At the same time, they generally eschewed long-term research in favor of projects with immediate policy implications and produced synthetic materials rather than long-term research.
In the following decades, conservative policies once considered outside the political mainstream—such as abolishing welfare, privatizing Social Security , deregulating banking, embracing preemptive war , and teaching creationism in schools—were taken seriously and sometimes passed into law due in part to the work of the Hoover Institution , the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute , the Hudson Institute , the American Enterprise Institute, and various smaller tanks.
Complaining that mainstream academia was hostile to conservatives, several foundations became especially active in funding conservative policy research, notably the Adolph Coors Foundation , the Bradley Foundation , the Koch family foundations , the Scaife Foundations , and until it closed in , the John M.
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Olin Foundation. Typically, they have emphasized the need for market-based solutions to national problems. Policy entrepreneurs such as William Baroody , Edwin Feulner and Paul Weyrich started to entrench conservatism in public research institutions. Their aim was to rival the liberal regime for the control of the sources of power. The appearance of think tanks changed the history of conservatism and left an enormous imprint on the Republican right in subsequent years.
Conservatives finally found a new champion in Ronald Reagan , whose 8 years as governor of California had just ended in , and supported his campaign for the Republican nomination. Ford narrowly won renomination but lost the White House. Following major gains by Democratic liberals in the midterm election, Jimmy Carter was elected as President.
Carter proved too liberal for his fellow Southern Baptists, as they voted for him in but not , too conservative for the mainstream of the Democratic Party, and many considered his foreign policy a failure. Carter realized there was a strong national sense of malaise, as inflation skyrocketed, interest rates soared, the economy stagnated, and prolonged humiliation resulted when Islamic militants in Tehran kept American diplomats hostage for days in — During the recessions of the s, inflation and unemployment rates soared simultaneously and budget deficits began to raise concerns among many Americans.
In the early s, America was still a moderately progressive country, as citizens supported social programs and voted down efforts to cut taxes. But by the end of the decade, a full-fledged tax revolt had gotten underway, led by the overwhelming passage in of Proposition 13 in California, which sharply cut property taxes, and the growing Congressional support for the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which proposed cutting federal income taxes by 30 percent. The ERA had seemed a noncontroversial effort to provide legal equality when it easily passed Congress in and quickly was ratified by 28 of the necessary 38 states.
Schlafly denounced it as tilting the playing field against the traditional housewife in a power grab by anti-family feminists on the left. She warned it would mean women would be drafted in the Army on the same basis as men.
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Through her Eagle Forum she organized state-by-state to block further ratification, and to have states rescind their ratification. Congress extended the time needed, and a movement among feminists tried to boycott tourist cities in states that had not ratified such as Chicago and New Orleans. It was to no avail. The ERA never became law and Schlafly became a major spokesperson for anti-feminism in the conservative movement. With Ronald Reagan's victory in the modern American conservative movement took power. Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time since , and conservative principles dominated Reagan's economic and foreign policies, with supply side economics and strict opposition to Soviet Communism defining the Administration's philosophy.
Reagan's ideas were largely espoused and supported by the conservative Heritage Foundation , which grew dramatically in its influence during the Reagan years, extended to a second term by the presidential election , as Reagan and his senior aides looked to Heritage for policy guidance. An icon of the American conservative movement, Reagan is credited by his supporters with transforming the politics of the United States, galvanizing the success of the Republican Party.
He brought together a coalition of economic conservatives, who supported his supply side economics ; foreign policy conservatives, who favored his staunch opposition to Communism and the Soviet Union ; and social conservatives, who identified with his religious and social ideals.
Reagan labeled the Soviet Union the " evil empire.
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For these and other efforts, Reagan was attacked by liberals at the time as a dangerous warmonger, but conservative historians assert that he decisively won the Cold War. In defining conservatism, Reagan said: "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals—if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories.
The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is. He also stated, "Freedom is not created by Government, nor is it a gift from those in political power. It is, in fact, secured, more than anything else, by limitations placed on those in Government". Supply side economics dominated the Reagan Era.
The period from to was among the most prosperous in American history, with 17 million new jobs created. The s also saw the founding of The Washington Times , a newspaper influential in the conservative movement. Reagan was said to have read the paper every morning, and the paper had close ties to multiple Republican administrations. TIME stated there has been an identity crisis in U.
After the end of the Reagan administration significant change occurred within the conservative movement during the George H. Bush and Bill Clinton Administrations. Bush because he campaigned to the center of the American political spectrum, where as Bill Clinton campaigned to the right of the center.
Beginning in the early s conservative leaning internet sites began to emerge, such as Drudge Report , Free Republic , and Townhall. The election of George W. Bush in brought a new generation of conservatives to power in Washington. Bush ran under the banner of compassionate conservatism , contrasting himself with other members of the Republican Party. Bush forged a bipartisan coalition to pass " No Child Left Behind ", which for the first time imposed national standards on public schools. Bush expanded Medicaid , and was criticized by conservatives.
Bush won solid support from Republicans in Congress and from conservative voters in his reelection campaign. Almost the same pattern had appeared in the exit polls. When the financial system verged on total collapse in , Bush pushed through large scale rescue packages for banks and auto companies that even some conservatives in Congress did not support. Viguerie and William F. McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, and while she was greeted by the GOP establishment with initial skepticism, she electrified many conservatives and became a major political force on the right.
After the election of Obama for president, Republicans in Congress were unified in almost total opposition to the programs and policies of Obama and the Democratic majority. They did keep emissions trading from coming to a vote, and vow to continue to work to convince Americans that burning fossil fuel does not cause global warming.
Obama's approval rating steadily declined in his first year in office before leveling off at about On foreign policy, some conservatives, especially neoconservatives and those in the National Review circle, supported Obama's policy of a surge in Afghanistan, air raids to support the insurgents in Libya, and the war on terror, especially after he ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad , Pakistan in May In the Republican Party presidential primary , Donald Trump won.
A relatively new element of conservatism is the Tea Party movement of —present, a populist grassroots movement comprising over local units who communally express dissatisfaction with the government and both major parties. The Tea Party attracted national attention when it propelled Republican Scott Brown to a victory in the Senate election for the Massachusetts seat held by the Kennedy brothers for nearly 60 years.
Rasmussen and Schoen conclude that "She is the symbolic leader of the movement, and more than anyone else has helped to shape it. The Tea Party is a conglomerate of conservatives with diverse viewpoints including libertarians and social conservatives. The name is an umbrella that encompasses many different groups. Under this umbrella, you'll find everyone from the woolly fringe to Ron Paul supporters, from Americans for Prosperity to religious conservatives, independents, and citizens who never have been active in politics before.
The umbrella is gigantic. Gallup Poll editors noted in that "in addition to conservatives being more enthusiastic than liberals about voting in this year's election, their relative advantage on enthusiasm is much greater than we've seen in the recent past.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. History of conservatism in the United States. Bolton L. Brent Bozell Jr. Brooks Pat Buchanan William F. Buckley Jr. James Burnham George H. Bush George W. Washington Richard M. Weaver Robert W. Think tanks. Other organizations. Variants and movements.
See also. American nationalism Bibliography Libertarianism List. Main articles: Solid South and Southern Democrats. Main article: Gilded Age. Play media. Main article: Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of Main article: Conservative coalition. This section contains information of unclear or questionable importance or relevance to the article's subject matter.
The authors sought out genuine conservatives, and succinctly summarize their lives and contribution to the Republic, offering readers sufficient depth of detail to whet their appetites. If one reads Forgotten Conservatives and is left wondering, first, where such men may be found today and, second, whether we are worthy of those who have contributed so much to these United States in the past, then the labors of McClanahan and Wilson have not been in vain.
The unifying theme throughout the chapters is the fundamentally Jeffersonian character of their heroes, and the Hamiltonian hearts of their villains. On occasion, there is a repetitive character to the invocation of the American tension between Jeffersonians and Hamiltonians; the hermeneutical key provided by that tension might have been more effective if it had not been invoked in nearly ever chapter.
Sometimes the strength of such an insight is more powerful when less-frequently restated. Another abiding impression throughout Forgotten Conservatives is that the men included in this work were profoundly opposed to the wars in which the Republic was embroiled time and again. Forgotten Conservatives include among their ranks statesmen, authors, historians, economists, and philosophers. Calhoun and Grover Cleveland are two of the strongest in the entire work — not surprising, perhaps, given the fact that Wilson is the editor of The Papers of John C.
The chapters concerning James Fenimore Cooper, James Gould Cozzens, and William Faulkner also offer readers an opportunity to reflect on several of the fine conservative minds who have actively contributed to the literary heritage of these United States. Nevertheless, Forgotten Conservatives is a book worthy of careful study. McClanahan and Wilson have provided a powerful testimony to the enduring strength of conservative principles through the history of these United States.
Thank you for joining the discussion at The New American. We value our readers and encourage their participation, but in order to ensure a positive experience for our readership, we have a few guidelines for commenting on articles. Unfortunately, because the word conservative in this book is so monolithic, every person presented has hypocrisies with this creed, and when the authors occasionally acknowledge it, opt to frame it with words like "ironically," or a short phrase to provide justification for the contradiction, such as, "to appear patriotic.
Since most of them are politicians, none of them can meet this strict mold. Someone could criticize the book for framing some information out of context e. The authors do bash other historians quite a bit specifically Yale ones -which implies their superiority-but that's something that doesn't bother me, but I've noticed other reviewers on other historical or biographical books take issue with that.
They also reach to make too many connections for how their research relates directly to events today; this ends up changing the theme of the book to an editorial viewpoint on today's political environment, rather than a historical book highlighting forgotten conservatives. Overall I feel this book was a missed opportunity.
I was really excited when I first read the synopsis and went to three different libraries before I found a copy; I opened the book with a big smile, but as I turned the pages, my smile flipped. Still, it does provide some interesting view points and opinions, and I really appreciated the profiles of the lesser known individuals, but in the end I did not enjoy this book even though part of me wants to rate it higher. I would recommend trying to find a sample chapter online first if they offer that before purchasing it.
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