The Sagebrush Rebellion and Wise use movement of the 1980s and 1990s were controversial because they sparked a debate on how public lands should be utilized. In the 1970s the sagebrush rebellion was significant in the changing politics of the Republican party in the West, both in its resemblance to ascendant conservatism and the New Right national (Turner, 131). Turner then says that the Sagebrush Rebellion was a “populist protest against public lands reform supported by western citizens, the natural resource industries, and local and state governments in the West.” (Turner, 131). The rebellion began because farmers, ranchers, and others felt that the federal government denied the use of public lands because they were told that they would not be able to use the land for livestock purposes. Because of this rebellion large coorperations would turn to the republican party because the republican party believed in States Rights. Therefore, the federal government would not have a say to how these public lands should be utilized. The Wise Use movement began in the 1990s. The Wise use movement focused on “citizens’ involvement and emphasized their claims to constitutional rights, including the rights to bear arms, to own private property, and to exercise political liberty.” (Turner, 138). Members of this movement felt that there was too much regulation on of natural resources and private property and they felt that the government should focus on a citizens constitutional right.
These conflicts over public lands in the West, had a big influence on the development of the New Right movement. The Sagebrush Rebellion and Wise Use organized a group of voters, using these issues to forward their ideas. It also had an impact on the 1980s cultural conflicts, which conservatives used as an opportunity to preserve traditional American ideals.