Functions & Events > The Bentley Lecture > 2007 Archive

The Bentley Lecture 2007:

Kevin Phillips:

American Theocracy

Sunday, May 6, 2007 ~ 4:00 p.m.

The First Church in Salem, in collaboration with the Salem Atheneum, is proud to present this year's Bentley Lecturer, Kevin Phillips.

For more than three decades, Kevin Phillips has been consistently and “transcendentally right” (as one reviewer has put it) about the dynamics of political change in America and an avid analyst of the role of wealth in democracy. Kevin’s best-selling books have influenced presidential campaigns and changed the way America sees itself. In his two most recent New York Times bestsellers, American Dynasty and Wealth and Democracy, Kevin established himself as a powerful critic of the political and economic forces that are ruling—and imperiling—the U.S. Now, in American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, Kevin uncovers
and assails the political coalition, led by radical religion, that he believes is driving the country to the brink of disaster.One of Kevin’s first books, The Emerging Republican Majority, set the political strategy for Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign in 1968 and transformed the American political landscape for the generation that followed. Phillips’ commitment to public service and strong sense of history make his presentations valuable to any audience—business, college, or public forum—that cares about where America is headed in the future. Called a “modern Thomas Paine,” Kevin Phillips is a regular commentator for National Public Radio and a former commentator
for CBS News.


  • Strategic advisor to President Nixon
  • Former editor-publisher, The American Political Report
  • Contributing columnist, Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal
  • Regular commentator for National Public Radio
  • Former commentator, CBS TV News at the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Democratic and Republican National conventions.

American Theocracy

From ancient Rome to the British Empire, world-dominating
powers are brought down by the combination of global overreach,
militant religion, diminishing resources and ballooning debt—just
the combination now at work in the United States, argues Kevin
Phillips in American Theocracy. The book continues the themes
that Kevin has been exploring throughout his career: the corrosive
influence of wealth on democracy, the role of monied interests
in political circles and the dynamics of political change. This
extraordinary book adds new depth to his arguments and a new
(for him) element of concern—the role of radical religion among
today’s political elites. At one time a Republican strategist, Kevin
has become a powerful independent critic of the party and its
abandonment of its own principles. With his trademark combination
of eloquent, persuasive prose and overwhelming historical
evidence, this book is certain to ignite an important discussion
about America’s course and to follow its predecessors onto the
bestseller charts.


  • The Emerging Republican Majority (1969)
  • The Politics of Rich and Poor:
    Wealth and the American Electorate
    in the Reagan Aftermath(1990)
  • Boiling Point: Democrats, Republicans
    and the Decline of Middle-
    Class Prosperity (1993)
  • Arrogant Capital: Washington,
    Wall Street, and the Frustration of
    American Politics (1994)
  • The Cousins Wars: Religion, Politics
    and the Triumph of Anglo-America (1999)
  • Wealth and Democracy: A Political
    History of the American Rich(2002)
William McKinley (2003)
  • American Dynasty: Aristocracy,
    Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit
    in the House of Bush (2004)
  • American Theocracy: The Peril and
    Politics of Radical Religion, Oil,
    and Borrowed Money in the 21st
    Century (2006)