The Lewis Powell Memo, also known as the Powell Memorandum or the Powell Manifesto, is a confidential memorandum written by Lewis F. Powell Jr., a corporate attorney and later justice on [[The Supreme Court]], on August 23, 1971. The memo was addressed to his friend Eugene B. Sydnor Jr., the then-director of the United States Chamber of Commerce.
The memo came at a time when there was a growing concern among [[conservative]]s and business leaders about the influence of [liberal](https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/authoritarianism/liberalism/) and progressive ideologies on American society and the perceived anti-business sentiment. The document outlined a detailed strategy for how the business community could counteract these trends and reassert its influence in the realms of politics, education, and the media.
## Powell Memo key points
1. **Perceived Threats**: Powell saw the American [[free markets]] system under attack from various sources, including intellectuals, politicians, and the media. He was particularly concerned about the influence of Ralph Nader, a consumer advocate who had been successful in pushing for various consumer protection policies.
2. **Business Advocacy**: Powell urged the business community to be more active in advocating for its interests. He called for increased lobbying efforts and more funding for think tanks and academic research to develop pro-business arguments and policies.
3. **Influencing Public Opinion**: Powell emphasized the importance of shaping public opinion in favor of business interests. He suggested that businesses should be more proactive in engaging with the media, advertising, and public relations to present their perspective in a more favorable light.
4. **Education and Academia**: Powell believed that American educational institutions were becoming increasingly liberal and hostile to the free enterprise system. He recommended that businesses should exert more influence over the curriculum and faculty appointments in universities, as well as support the development of pro-business educational materials.
5. **Legal and Judicial System**: Powell stressed the need for businesses to be more active in the legal and judicial system. He suggested that they should increase their involvement in litigation, create legal foundations to support their interests, and work to appoint business-friendly judges.
## Effects of the Powell Memo
The Powell Memo is widely seen as a blueprint for the conservative and pro-business movement that gained momentum in the United States during the late 20th century. While it is difficult to determine its exact impact, many scholars and commentators believe that the strategies outlined in the memo contributed to the growth of conservative think tanks, increased corporate influence in politics, and a shift in the American political landscape to the right.