Politics of the Southern United States

The politics of the Southern United States generally refers to the political landscape of the Southern United States. Due to the region's unique cultural and historical heritage, including slavery, the South has been involved in many political issues. Some of these issues include States' rights, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Movement and social conservatism. From the 1870s to the 1960s, the region was referred to as the Solid South, due to their consistent support for Democrats in all elective offices. As a result, its Congressmen gained seniority across many terms, thus enabling them to control many Congressional committees. In presidential politics, the South began to move away from national Democratic loyalties with the Dixiecrat movement of 1948 and the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign of 1964. Among white Southerners, Democratic loyalties first fell away at the presidential level, followed much later at the state and local levels.[2]

Us south census
The Southern United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.[1] The "South" and its regions are defined in various ways, however.

Southern states

According to the United States Census Bureau the following states are considered part of the "South."

Other definitions vary. For example, Missouri is often considered a border state, although many Missourians claim that Missouri is in the South.[3]

Post-Civil War

At the end of the Civil War, much of the conquered Confederacy lay in ruins. The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 and 1868 placed most of the Confederate states under military rule, requiring Union Army governors to approve appointed officials and candidates for election. They enfranchised African American citizens and required voters to recite an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, effectively discouraging still-rebellious individuals from voting and led to Republican control of many state governments.[4] This was interpreted as anarchy and upheaval by many residents.[5] However, Democrats had regained power in most Southern states by the late 1870s. Later, this period came to be referred to as Redemption. From 1890–1908 states of the former Confederacy passed statutes and amendments to their state constitutions that effectively disenfranchised most African Americans and tens of thousands of poor whites. They did this through devices such as poll taxes and literacy tests.[6]

In the 1890s the South split bitterly, with poor cotton farmers moving to the Populist movement. In coalition with the remaining Republicans, the Populists briefly controlled Alabama and North Carolina. The local elites, townspeople, and landowners fought back, regaining control of the Democratic party by 1898.

20th century

During the 20th century, civil rights of African Americans became a central issue. Before 1964 African American citizens in the South were treated as second class citizens with minimal political rights.

1948: Dixiecrat revolt

Many Southern Democrats rejected the 1948 Democratic political platform over President Harry's Truman's civil rights platform.[7] They met at Birmingham, Alabama, and formed a political party named the "States' Rights" Democratic Party, more commonly known as the "Dixiecrats." Its main goal was to continue the policy of racial segregation in the South and the Jim Crow laws that sustained it. South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, who had led the walkout, became the party's presidential nominee. Mississippi Governor Fielding L. Wright received the vice-presidential nomination. Thurmond had a moderate position in South Carolina politics, but with his allegiance with the Dixiecrats, he became the symbol of die-hard segregation.[8] The Dixiecrats had no chance of winning the election since they failed to qualify for the ballots of enough states. Their strategy was to win enough Southern states to deny Truman an electoral college victory and force the election into the House of Representatives, where they could then extract concessions from either Truman or his opponent Thomas Dewey on racial issues in exchange for their support. Even if Dewey won the election outright, the Dixiecrats hoped that their defection would show that the Democratic Party needed Southern support to win national elections, and that this fact would weaken the Civil Rights Movement among Northern and Western Democrats. However, the Dixiecrats were weakened when most Southern Democratic leaders (such as Governor Herman Talmadge of Georgia and "Boss" E. H. Crump of Tennessee) refused to support the party.[9] In the November election, Thurmond carried the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.[10] Outside of these four states, however, it was only listed as a third-party ticket. Thurmond received well over a million popular votes and 39 electoral votes.[10]

Civil Rights Movement

Between 1955 and 1968, a movement towards desegregation began to take place in the American South. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were highly influential in carrying out a strategy of non-violent protests and demonstrations. African American churches were prominent in organizing their congregations for leadership and protest. Protesters rallied against racial laws, at events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma to Montgomery marches, the Birmingham campaign, the Greensboro sit-in of 1960 and the March on Washington in 1963.[11]

Legal changes came in the mid-1960s when President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress. It ended legal segregation. He also pushed through the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which set strict rules for protecting the right of African Americans to vote. This law has since been used to protect equal rights for women as well as all minorities.[12]

The South becomes Republican

For nearly a century after Reconstruction, the white South identified with the Democratic Party. Republicans controlled parts of the mountains districts and they competed for statewide office in the border states. Before 1948, southern Democrats believed that their party, with its respect for states' rights and appreciation of traditional southern values, was the defender of the southern way of life. Southern Democrats warned against designs on the part of northern liberals and Republicans and civil rights activists whom they denounced as "outside agitators".

The adoption of the first civil rights plank by the 1948 convention and President Truman's Executive Order 9981, which provided for equal treatment and opportunity for African-American military service members, divided the party's northern and southern wings.[13] In 1952, the Democratic Party named John Sparkman, a moderate Senator from Alabama, as their vice presidential candidate with the hope of building party loyalty in the South.[14][15] By the late 1950s, the national Democratic Party again began to embrace the Civil Rights Movement, and the old argument that Southern whites had to vote for Democrats to protect segregation grew weaker. Modernization had brought factories, national businesses and a more diverse culture to cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte and Houston. This attracted millions of northern migrants, including many African Americans. They gave priority to modernization and economic growth over preservation of the old ways.[16]

The Civil Rights act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed by bipartisan majorities of northern congressmen. Only a small element resisted, led by Democratic governors Lester Maddox of Georgia, and especially George Wallace of Alabama. These populist governors appealed to a less-educated, blue-collar electorate that favored the Democratic Party, but supported segregation.[17] After the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that outlawed segregation in schools in 1954, integration caused enormous controversy in the white South. For this reason, compliance was very slow and was the subject of violent resistance in some areas.[18]

The Democratic Party no longer acted as the champion of segregation. Newly-enfranchised African American voters began supporting Democratic candidates at the 80-90-percent levels, producing Democratic leaders such as Julian Bond and John Lewis of Georgia, and Barbara Jordan of Texas.[19]

Many white southerners switched to the Republican Party, some for reasons unrelated to race. The majority of white southerners shared conservative positions on taxes, moral values and national security. The Democratic Party had increasingly liberal positions rejected by these voters.[20] In addition, the younger generations, who were politically conservative but wealthier and less attached to the Democratic Party, replaced the older generations who remained loyal to the party.[20] The shift to the Republican Party took place slowly and gradually over almost a century.[20]

By the 1990s Republicans were starting to win elections at the statewide and local level throughout the South, even though Democrats retained majorities in several state legislatures through the 2000s and 2010s.[20][21] By 2014, the region was heavily Republican at the local, state and national level.[21][22] A key element in the change was the transformation of evangelical white Protestants in the south from largely nonpolitical to heavily Republican. Pew pollsters reported, "In the late 1980s, white evangelicals in the South were still mostly wedded to the Democratic Party while evangelicals outside the South were more aligned with the GOP. But over the course of the next decade or so, the GOP made gains among white Southerners generally and evangelicals in particular, virtually eliminating this regional disparity."[23] Exit polls in the 2004 presidential election showed that Republican George W. Bush led Democrat John Kerry by 70–30% among Southern whites, who comprised 71% of the voters there. By contrast, Kerry had a 90–9 lead among the 18% of African American Southern voters. One-third of the Southern voters said they were white evangelicals; they voted for Bush by 80–20.[24]

After the 2016 election, every state legislature in the South was GOP-controlled.[25] With the historic flip of Elliott County, Kentucky from Democrat to Republican in 2016, every rural, white-majority county in the Southern United States voted for the Republican nominee.[26]

Recent trends

LGBT rights

In September 2004, Louisiana became the first state adopt a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the South. This was followed by Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Oklahoma in November 2004, Texas in 2005, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia in 2006, Florida in 2008, and finally North Carolina in 2012. North Carolina became the 30th state to adopt a state constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.[27] This ended with Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case. Decided on June 26, 2015.[28]


Map of Southern state legislatures and Governors (2015)
A map of the Southern United States (2014), showing political strength of statewide
  States with Republican supermajorities in both state chambers and a Republican Governor
  States with Republican supermajorities in one chamber, one state chamber controlled by Republicans, and a Republican Governor
  States with Republicans controlling both state chambers and a Republican Governor
  States with Republicans controlling both state chambers and a Democratic Governor
  States with Republicans controlling one state chambers, one state chamber controlled by Democrats, and a Democratic Governor
  States with Republican supermajorities in one state chamber, one state chamber controlled by Democrats, and a Democratic Governor
  States with Democratic controlling both state chambers and a Republican Governor
  States with Democratic supermajorities in both state chambers and a Democratic Governor
  States with Democratic supermajorities in one state chamber, one state chamber controlled by Democrats, and a Democratic Governor
  States with Democratic controlling both state chambers and a Democratic Governor
Map of Southern voter demographics
A map of the Southern United States, showing voter demographics
  40-49% Republican
  30-39% Republican
  40-49% Democratic
  50-59% Democratic
Politics in the Southern United States 2001–present
State Elected office 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Alabama President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 R D, R
Congressional districts R Majority
Governor D R
Senate D Majority R Majority
House of Representatives D Majority R Supermajority
Arkansas President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators D, R 2 D D, R 2 R
Congressional districts D Majority R Majority
Governor R D R
Senate D Majority R Majority
House of Representatives D Majority R Majority
Delaware President Al Gore (D) John Kerry (D) Barack Obama (D) Hillary Clinton (D)
US Senators 2 D
Congressional districts R Majority D Majority
Governor D
Senate D Majority
House of Representatives R Majority D Majority
Florida President George W. Bush (R) Barack Obama (D) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 D D, R 2R
Congressional districts R Majority
Governor R I R
Senate R Majority R Supermajority R Majority
House of Representatives R Majority R Supermajority R Majority R Supermajority R Majority
Georgia President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators D, R 2 R
Congressional districts R Majority
Governor D R
Senate D Majority R Majority R Supermajority
House of Representatives D Majority R Majority
Kentucky President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 R
Congressional districts R Majority
Governor D R D R
Senate R Majority
House of Representatives D Majority R Majority
Louisiana President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 D D, R 2R
Congressional districts R Majority
Governor R D R D
Senate D Majority R Majority
House of Representatives D Majority R Majority
Maryland President Al Gore (D) John Kerry (D) Barack Obama (D) Hillary Clinton (D)
US Senators 2 D
Congressional districts 4 D, 4 R D Majority
Governor D R D R
Senate D Majority
House of Delegates D Majority
Mississippi President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 R
Congressional districts D Majority 2 D, 2 R D Majority R Majority
Governor D R
Senate D Majority R Majority D Majority R Majority
House of Representatives D Majority R Majority
North Carolina President George W. Bush (R) Barack Obama (D) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators D, R 2 R D, R 2 R
Congressional districts R Majority D Majority R Majority
Governor D R D
Senate D Majority R Majority R Supermajority R Majority
House of Representatives D Majority 60 D, 60 R D Majority R Majority R Supermajority R Majority
Oklahoma President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 R
Congressional districts R Majority
Governor R D R
Senate D Majority 24 D, 24 R R Majority R Supermajority
House of Representatives D Majority R Majority R Supermajority
South Carolina President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators D, R 2 R
Congressional districts R Majority
Governor D R
Senate R Majority
House of Representatives R Majority
Tennessee President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 R
Congressional districts R Majority D Majority R Majority
Governor R D R
Senate D Majority 16 R, 16 D, 1 I R Majority R Supermajority
House of Representatives D Majority 49 R, 49 D, 1 CCR R Majority R Supermajority
Texas President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 R
Congressional districts D Majority R Majority
Governor R
Senate R Majority
House of Representatives D Majority R Majority R Supermajority R Majority
Virginia President George W. Bush (R) Barack Obama (D) Hillary Clinton (D)
US Senators 2 R D, R 2 D
Congressional districts R Majority D Majority R Majority D Majority
Governor R D R D
Senate R Majority D Majority R Majority D Majority R Majority
House of Delegates R Majority R Supermajority R Majority
West Virginia President George W. Bush (R) John McCain (R) Mitt Romney (R) Donald Trump (R)
US Senators 2 D D, R
Congressional districts D Majority R Majority
Governor D R
Senate D Supermajority D Majority R Majority
House of Representatives D Supermajority D Supermajority D Majority R Majority

While the general trend in the South has shown an increasing dominance of the Republican party, politics in the 21st century are just as contentious and competitive as any time in the region's history. States such as Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina have become swing states; all three of which voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 United States Presidential Election. Florida and Virginia voted again for Obama in 2012. Almost all southern states supported Donald Trump in 2016 Republican Primary (except Texas which was won by native son Ted Cruz and Oklahoma) and the Presidential Election (except Virginia, which was won by Hillary Clinton).[29]

See also


  1. ^ Regions and Divisions—2007 Economic Census". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  2. ^ Amanda Cox (2012-10-15). "Over the Decades, How States Have Shifted". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  3. ^ "Which States Are in the South?". FiveThirtyEight. 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  4. ^ "History Engine: The Second Reconstruction Act is passed". University of Virginia.
  5. ^ "Reconstruction vs. Redemption". National Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  6. ^ Michael Perman, Pursuit of Unity: A Political History of the American South (2009)
  7. ^ Harvard Sitkoff (November 1971). "Harry Truman and the Election of 1948: The Coming of Age of Civil Rights in American Politics". Journal of Southern History. 37: 597–616. JSTOR 2206548.
  8. ^ Jack Bass, and Marilyn W. Thompson, Strom: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond (2005).
  9. ^ Kari Frederickson, The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932–1968 (2001)
  10. ^ a b "Dixiecrats". Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  11. ^ "The Emergence of the Civil Rights Movement | Boundless US History". courses.lumenlearning.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  12. ^ "Johnson signs Civil Rights Act - Jul 02, 1964 - HISTORY.com". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  13. ^ Littlejohn, Jeffrey L., and Charles H. Ford. "Truman and Civil Rights." in Daniel S. Margolies, ed. A Companion to Harry S. Truman (2012) p 287.
  14. ^ "Sparkman Chosen by Democrats as Running Mate for Stevenson; Senator Hails Party Solidarity". partners.nytimes.com. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  15. ^ "John J. Sparkman - Encyclopedia of Alabama". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  16. ^ Byron E. Shafer, The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South (2006) ch 6
  17. ^ "Lester Maddox (1915-2003)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  18. ^ "School Segregation and Integration - Civil Rights History Project". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  19. ^ Lawson, Steven F. (1991). "Freedom then, freedom now: The historiography of the civil rights movement". American Historical Review. 96: 456–471. JSTOR 2163219.
  20. ^ a b c d Trende, Sean (September 9, 2010). "Misunderstanding the Southern Realignment". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Hamby, Peter (December 9, 2014). "The plight of the Southern Democrat". CNN. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  22. ^ Cohn, Nate (December 4, 2014). "Demise of the Southern Democrat Is Now Nearly Complete". The New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  23. ^ "Religion and the Presidential Vote | Pew Research Center". People-press.org. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
  24. ^ "Exit Polls". CNN. 2004-11-02. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
  25. ^ Loftus, Tom (November 9, 2016). "GOP takes Ky House in historic shift". courier-journal.com. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  26. ^ Simon, Jeff (December 9, 2016). "How Trump Ended Democrats' 144-Year Winning Streak in One County". CNN. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  27. ^ "Progression of same-sex Marriage in the United States and Worldwide". 2014-11-25. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  28. ^ "Timeline: Same-sex marriage through the years". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  29. ^ "Why the South likes Donald Trump". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Beyond Red vs. Blue : Political Typology" (PDF). People-press.org. Retrieved 2016-03-09.


Boll weevil (politics)

Boll weevils (beetles which feed on cotton buds) was an American political term used in the mid- and late-20th century to describe conservative Southern Democrats.

During and after the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, conservative Southern Democrats were part of the coalition generally in support of Roosevelt's New Deal and Harry Truman's Fair Deal economic policies, but were opposed to desegregation and the American civil rights movement. On several occasions between 1948 and 1968, prominent conservative Southern Democrats broke from the Democrats to run a third party campaign for President on a platform of states' rights: Strom Thurmond in 1948, Harry F. Byrd in 1960, and George Wallace in 1968. In the 1964 presidential election, five states in the Deep South (then a Democratic stronghold) voted for Republican Barry Goldwater over Southern Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson, partly due to Johnson's support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Goldwater's opposition to it. After 1968, with desegregation a settled issue, the Republican Party began a strategy of trying to win conservative Southerners away from the Democrats and into the Republican Party (see Southern strategy and silent majority).

Representative Howard W. Smith of Virginia took up the boll weevil as a symbol in the 1950s, during the Eisenhower administration, but the term did not gain currency until the 1980s, when it was revived by Representative Charles W. Stenholm of Texas. The group adopted the name of the boll weevil, a pest destructive to cotton crops, because of the difficultly of eradicating the weevil and the pest's Southern habitat.Nonetheless, a bloc of conservative Democrats, mostly Southerners, remained in the United States Congress throughout the 1970s and 1980s (the Conservative Coalition). These included Democratic House members as conservative as Larry McDonald, who was also a leader in the John Birch Society. During the administration of Ronald Reagan, the term "boll weevils" was applied to this bloc of conservative Democrats, who consistently voted for Reagan administration policies, such as tax cuts, increases in military spending, and deregulation. The boll weevils were contrasted with the "gypsy moth Republicans"—moderate Republicans from the Northeast and Midwest who opposed many Reagan economic policies.Most of the boll weevils eventually retired from politics, or in the case of some, such as Senators Phil Gramm and Richard Shelby, switched parties and joined the Republicans. Since 1988, the term "boll weevils" has fallen out of favor. A bloc of conservative Democrats in the House, including some younger or newer members as well as the remaining boll weevils who refused to bow to pressure to switch parties, organized themselves as the "Blue Dogs" in the early 1990s. A different bloc of Democrats also emerged in the 1990s, under the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), espousing conservative pro-business views on economic issues and moderate views on social issues.

Council of Conservative Citizens

The Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC or CCC) is an American white supremacist organization. Founded in 1985, it supports white nationalism, and a variety of conservative and paleoconservative causes. Its statement of principles says that they "oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind".The organization is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. As of 2015, its president is Earl Holt; Jared Taylor is the group's spokesman, and Paul Fromm is its international director.The CofCC traces its provenance to the segregationist Citizens' Councils of America, which was founded in 1954, but had slipped to obscurity by 1973. The original CofCC mailing list came from the Citizen's Council, as did several members of the CofCC Board of Directors.

Deep South

The Deep South is a cultural and geographic subregion in the Southern United States. Historically, it was differentiated as those states most dependent on plantations and slave societies during the pre-Civil War period. The Deep South is commonly referred to as the Cotton States, given that the production of cotton was a primary cash crop.

Earl Black

Earl Black (born 1942) is a professor of Political Science at Rice University who has specialized in studies of the politics of the Southern United States.

Earl Black earned a B.A. at the University of Texas at Austin in 1964 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1968. He has studied the relationship between politics and race or ethnicity in the South.

He and his twin brother, Merle Black, a professor of political science at Emory University, have written several books on the politics of the South and the United States as a whole. Their last book together is Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics (2008).

James Shepherd Pike

James Shepherd Pike (September 8, 1811 – November 29, 1882) was an American journalist and a historian of South Carolina during the Reconstruction Era

League of the South

The League of the South (LS) is a white nationalist, Neo-Confederate, white supremacist organization, headquartered in Killen, Alabama, which states that its ultimate goal is "a free and independent Southern republic". The group defines the Southern United States as the states that made up the former Confederacy (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia). It claims to be also a religious and social movement, advocating a return to a more traditionally conservative, Christian-oriented Southern culture.The movement and its members are allied with the alt-right. The group was part of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Front formely alongside the National Socialist Movement (NSM), the now defunct Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) and Vanguard America (VA) since rebranded as Patriot Front. The group participated in the Pikeville rally in Pikeville, Kentucky, the Charlottesville riots/Unite the Right in Charlottesville, Virginia and the White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee as key organizers in all three events. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated it as a hate group.

Lost Cause of the Confederacy

The Lost Cause of the Confederacy, or simply the Lost Cause, is an American historical negationist ideology that holds that, despite losing the American Civil War, the cause of the Confederacy was a just and heroic one. The ideology endorses the supposed virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the war as a struggle primarily for the Southern way of life or "states' rights" in the face of overwhelming "Northern aggression". At the same time, the Lost Cause minimizes or denies outright the central role of slavery in the outbreak of the war.

Lost Cause ideology emerged in the decades after the war among former Confederate generals and politicians, as well as organizations like the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Particularly intense periods of Lost Cause activity came around the time of World War I, as the last Confederate veterans began to die and a push was made to preserve their memories, and during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, in reaction to growing public support for racial equality. Through activities such as building prominent Confederate monuments and writing school history textbooks, they sought to ensure future generations of Southern whites would know of the South's "true" reasons for fighting the war and therefore continue to support white supremacist policies, such as Jim Crow. In this manner, white supremacy is a key characteristic of the Lost Cause narrative.Though it synthesizes numerous ideas, proponents of the Lost Cause primarily argue that slavery was not the main cause of the Civil War. In order to reach this conclusion, they directly ignore the declarations of secession by the seceding states, the declarations of congressmen who left Congress to join the Confederacy, and the treatment of slavery in the Confederate Constitution. They also deny or minimize the wartime writings and speeches of Confederate leaders in favor of postwar views. (See Cornerstone Speech.) Supporters often stress the idea of secession as a defense against a Northern threat to their way of life and say that the threat violated the states' rights guaranteed by the Constitution. They believe that any state had the right to secede, a point strongly denied by the North. The Lost Cause portrayed the South as more adherent to Christian values than the allegedly greedy North. It portrayed slavery as more benevolent than cruel, alleging that it taught Christianity and "civilization". Stories of happy slaves were often used as propaganda in an effort to defend slavery; the United Daughters of the Confederacy had a "Faithful Slave Memorial Committee," and erected the Heyward Shepherd monument in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. These stories would be used to explain slavery to Northerners. Many times they also portrayed slave owners being kind to their slaves. In explaining Confederate defeat, the Lost Cause says that the main factor was not qualitative inferiority in leadership or fighting ability but the massive quantitative superiority of the Yankee industrial machine. At the peak of troop strength in 1863, Union soldiers outnumbered Confederate soldiers by over two to one, and financially the Union had three times the bank deposits of the Confederacy.Lost Cause narratives typically portray the Confederacy's cause as noble and its leadership as exemplars of old-fashioned chivalry and honor, defeated by the Union armies through numerical and industrial force that overwhelmed the South's superior military skill and courage. Proponents of the Lost Cause movement also condemned the Reconstruction that followed the Civil War, claiming that it had been a deliberate attempt by Northern politicians and speculators to destroy the traditional Southern way of life. In recent decades Lost Cause themes have been widely promoted by the Neo-Confederate movement in books and op-eds, and especially in one the movement's leading magazine, the Southern Partisan. The Lost Cause theme has been a major element in defining gender roles in the white South, in terms of honor, tradition, and family roles. The Lost Cause has inspired many prominent Southern memorials and even religious attitudes.


Neo-Confederates or Southern nationalists are the various groups and individuals who use historical negationism to portray the Confederate States of America and its actions in the American Civil War in a positive light.

New South

New South, New South Democracy or New South Creed is a slogan in the history of the American South after 1877. Reformers use it to call for a modernization of society and attitudes, to integrate more fully with the United States, and reject the economy and traditions of the Old South and the slavery-based plantation system of the antebellum period. The term was coined by its leading spokesman and Atlanta editor Henry W. Grady.

Republican Revolution

The Republican Revolution, Revolution of '94 or Gingrich Revolution refers to the Republican Party (GOP) success in the 1994 U.S. midterm elections, which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate. The day after the election, conservative Democrat Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama changed parties, becoming a Republican; on March 3, 1995, Colorado senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell switched to the Republican side as well, increasing the GOP senate majority.

Rather than campaigning independently in each district, Republican candidates chose to rally behind a single national program and message fronted by Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich. They alleged President Bill Clinton was not the New Democrat he claimed he was during his 1992 campaign but was a "tax and spend" liberal. The Republicans offered an alternative to Clinton's policies in the form of the Contract with America.The gains in seats in the mid-term election resulted in the Republicans gaining control of both the House and the Senate in January 1995. Republicans had not held the majority in the House for forty years, since the 83rd Congress (elected in 1952). Republicans only controlled 4 years of both House and Senate from 1933 to 1995.

Large Republican gains were made in state houses as well when the GOP picked up twelve gubernatorial seats and 472 legislative seats. In so doing, it took control of 20 state legislatures from the Democrats. Prior to this, Republicans had not held the majority of governorships since 1972. In addition, this was the first time in 50 years that the GOP controlled a majority of state legislatures.

Discontent against the Democrats was foreshadowed by a string of elections after 1992, including the capture of the mayoralties of New York and Los Angeles by the Republicans in 1993. In that same year, Christine Todd Whitman captured the New Jersey governorship from the Democrats and Bret Schundler became the first Republican mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, which had been held by the Democratic Party since 1917.

Republican George Allen won the 1993 Virginia Governor election while Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison took a U.S. Senate seat from the Democrats in the 1993 special election. Republicans Frank Lucas and Ron Lewis also picked up two congressional seats from Democrats in Oklahoma and Kentucky in May 1994.

Sharecroppers' Union

Founded in 1931 in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, the Sharecroppers' Union (also known as SCU or Alabama Sharecroppers’ Union) had its origins in the Croppers’ and Farm Workers’ Union (CFWU). Among its first members was Ned Cobb, whose story was told in Theodore Rosengarten’s All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw. It was founded with the support of the Communist Party and, although theoretically open to all races, its membership by 1933 was solely African-American. Its aims were to improve wages and work conditions for sharecroppers, also referred to as tenant farmers.SCU's initial demands included continuation of food advances, which had been suspended by landowners in an attempt to drive down wages; the ASU also demanded the right to sell surplus crops directly in the market rather than having to rely on brokerage by the landowners. They demanded also the right to cultivate small garden plots in order to minimize dependence on the landowners for food. In addition to the demand for payments to be made in cash rather than in goods, SCU membership also demanded nine-month public elementary schools for their children.In 1935, the SCU also turned its attention to the Federal government. Subsidies which were provided by the New Deals' 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act benefited only the landowners and the SCU sued the Federal government for direct payment to sharecroppers. The act was declared unconstitutional in 1936 and the case was subsequently dropped.By 1935, membership had reached 5,000 and by 1936, SCU's membership had increased to approximately 10,000 but in October of that year, the Communist Party, desirous of promoting a more popular-frontist bloc with Democrats in the South, withdrew its support of SCU; the SCU was dissolved and it merged first into the Farmers' Union of Alabama, and then into the Alabama Agricultural Workers' Union.

Southern Democrats

Southern Democrats are members of the U.S. Democratic Party who reside in the Southern United States.

In the 19th century, Southern Democrats were whites in the South who believed in Jeffersonian democracy. In the 1850s they defended slavery in the United States, and promoted its expansion into the West against northern Free Soil opposition. The United States presidential election of 1860 formalized the split and brought the American Civil War. After Reconstruction ended in the late 1870s they controlled all the Southern states and disenfranchised blacks (who were Republicans). The "Solid South" gave nearly all its electoral votes to Democrats in presidential elections. Republicans seldom were elected to office outside some Appalachian mountain districts and a few heavily German-American counties of Texas.The monopoly that the Democratic Party held over most of the South first showed major signs of breaking apart in 1948, when many Southern Democrats, dissatisfied with the policies of desegregation enacted during the administration of Democratic President Harry Truman, created the States Rights Democratic Party, which nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond for president. The "Dixiecrats" won most of the deep South (where Truman was not on the ballot). The new party collapsed after the election, with a return to the Democratic Party. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, ultimately signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, was filibustered by Democratic Senator and KKK member Robert C. Byrd which led many Southern Democrats to vote for Barry Goldwater at the national level. In the ensuing years, with the passing of the Civil Rights Act and the increasing conservatism of the Republican Party compared to the liberalism of the Democratic Party (especially on social and cultural issues) led many more southern Democrats in the South to vote Republican. However, many continued to vote for Democrats at the state and local levels, especially before 1994. After 2010, Republicans had gained a solid advantage over Democrats at all levels of politics in most Southern states.

Southern Governors' Association

The Southern Governors' Association (SGA) was a United States association of governors founded in 1934. It was the oldest and historically the largest of the regional governors associations. Since its first meeting 85 years ago to discuss the repeal of discriminatory rates for transporting goods by rail, the SGA had represented the common interests of Southern chief executives and provided a vehicle for promoting them. SGA was a nonpartisan enterprise where shareholders could exchange views and access data, information and expertise on issues of general importance in order to augment the deliberations of public, private and non-profit decision-makers in the American South. SGA operated as an instrumentality of the states.

The last SGA Chairman was Jay Nixon of Missouri. After nearly 82 years, the Southern Governors' Association was officially dissolved on June 30, 2016 by the majority of its members-in-good standing.

Southern Legal Resource Center

The Southern Legal Resource Center, Inc. (SLRC) is a South Carolina non-profit public law corporation which offers legal support to defend what they see as First Amendment violations, violation of civil rights, or discrimination against advocates of Southern Heritage.

Southern Tenant Farmers Union

The Southern Tenant Farmers' Union (STFU) was founded in 1934 as a civil farmer's union to organize tenant farmers in the Southern United States.Originally set up during the Great Depression, the STFU was founded to help sharecroppers and tenant farmers get better arrangements from landowners. They were eager to improve their share of profit or subsidies and working conditions. The STFU was established as a response to policies of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). Part of the New Deal, the AAA was a program to reduce production in order to increase prices of commodities; landowners were paid subsidies, which they were supposed to pass on to their tenants. The program was designed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help revive the United States' agricultural industry and to recharge the depressed economy.

The AAA called for a reduction in food production, which would, through a controlled shortage of food, raise the price for any given food item through supply and demand. The desired effect was that the agricultural industry would prosper due to the increased value and produce more income for farmers. In order to decrease food production, the AAA paid farmers to hold some of their land out of production; the money was paid to the landowners. The landowners were expected to share this money with the tenant farmers. While a small percentage of the landowners did share the income, the majority did not.

The Southern Tenant Farmers' Union was one of few unions in the 1930s that was open to all races. They promoted non-violent protest to gain their fair share of the AAA money. They also promoted the goal of blacks and whites working efficiently together. The Farmers' Union met with harsh resistance from the landowners and local public officials. The Southern Tenant Farmers' Union leaders were often harassed, attacked and many were killed.

In the 1930s the union was active in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. It later spread into the southeastern states and to California, sometimes affiliating with larger national labor federations. Its headquarters was mainly at Memphis, Tennessee. From 1948 to 1960, it was based at Washington, D.C.. It was later known as the National Agricultural Workers Union and the Agricultural and Allied Workers Union.

Southern strategy

In American politics, the Southern strategy was a Republican Party electoral strategy to increase political support among white voters in the South by appealing to racism against African Americans. As the civil rights movement and dismantling of Jim Crow laws in the 1950s and 1960s visibly deepened existing racial tensions in much of the Southern United States, Republican politicians such as presidential candidate Richard Nixon and Senator Barry Goldwater developed strategies that successfully contributed to the political realignment of many white, conservative voters in the South who had traditionally supported the Democratic Party rather than the Republican Party. It also helped to push the Republican Party much more to the right.The "Southern Strategy" refers primarily to "top down" narratives of the political realignment of the South which suggest that Republican leaders consciously appealed to many white Southerners' racial grievances in order to gain their support. This top-down narrative of the Southern Strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed Southern politics following the civil rights era. This view has been questioned by historians such as Matthew Lassiter, Kevin M. Kruse and Joseph Crespino, who have presented an alternative, "bottom up" narrative, which Lassiter has called the "suburban strategy". This narrative recognizes the centrality of racial backlash to the political realignment of the South, but suggests that this backlash took the form of a defense of de facto segregation in the suburbs rather than overt resistance to racial integration and that the story of this backlash is a national rather than a strictly Southern one.The perception that the Republican Party had served as the "vehicle of white supremacy in the South", particularly during the Goldwater campaign and the presidential elections of 1968 and 1972, made it difficult for the Republican Party to win back the support of black voters in the South in later years. In 2005, Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman formally apologized to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a national civil rights organization, for exploiting racial polarization to win elections and ignoring the black vote.


In the culture of the United States, the idea of Southernization came from the observation that Southern values and beliefs had become more central to political success, reaching an apogee in the 1990s, with a Democratic President and Vice President from the South and Congressional leaders in both parties being from the South. Some commentators said that Southern values seemed increasingly important in national elections through the early 21st century. American journalists in the late 2000s used the term "Southernization" to describe the political and cultural effects.

Who Speaks for the Negro?

Who Speaks for the Negro? is a 1965 book of interviews by Robert Penn Warren conducted with Civil Rights Movement activists. The book was reissued by Yale University Press in 2014. The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University created the Who Speaks for the Negro? digital archive featuring digitized versions of the original reel-to-reel recordings that Warren compiled for each of his interviewees as well as print materials related to the project, including the transcripts of those recordings, letters written between Warren and the interviewees, and contemporary reviews of the book.

Yellow dog Democrat

Yellow Dog Democrats was a political term applied to voters in the Southern United States who voted solely for candidates who represented the Democratic Party. The term originated in the late 19th century. These voters would allegedly "vote for a yellow dog before they would vote for any Republican". The term is now more generally applied to refer to any Democrat who will vote a straight party ticket under any circumstances. The South Carolina Democratic Party and Mississippi Democratic Party, among other state parties, continue to use the phrase to refer to committed members of the Democratic Party in the "Yellow Dog Club".The phrase "yellow dog" may be a reference to a breed of dog known as the Carolina Dog indigenous to the Americas, specifically the Southern United States, and not descended from Eurasian breeds.

Political views and affiliations in the South
Political views and affiliations % living in the South
Hard-Pressed Democrats[30] 48
Disaffected[30] 41
Bystander[30] 40
Main Street Republicans[30] 40
New Coalition Democrats[30] 40
Staunch Conservative[30] 38
Post-Modern[30] 31
Libertarian[30] 28
Solid Liberal[30] 26

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