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The New South Essay

1092 words - 5 pages

Traditional opinion insinuates the growth of the Republican Party in the South can be blamed on the policies of the National Democratic Party. This belief is a widely accepted and remains popular within society. The Democratic Party’s isolation of white voters by passing far-reaching civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965 led to the “white backlash” against the civil rights movement. In Georgia Democrats, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Shaping of the New South, Tim S. R. Boyd challenges the established “white backlash” theory that the decline of democratic power in the South was mostly based on racist perspectives. Boyd insists “that the civil rights movement did not destroy the ...view middle of the document...

The author maintains that any reforms the Democratic Party engaged in frequently lead to the election of more conservative Democrats. The idea was to minimize the threat to the one-party system. This, however, would prove beneficial for Republicans gains later. An issue that Boyd describes as a “short-lived advantage” was the Supreme Court Brown decision in 1954 (87). Boyd describes the confrontation in all of its phases, but attempts to diminish the tension, and summarize it as a political stalemate. The dispute over desegregation played a significant role on democratic growth and the civil rights movement. The concern for the author revolves around the divide of the Democratic Party that developed following World War II. The Loyalists were reform-minded Democrats. While the Regulars were the extreme traditional conservative faction of the Democratic Party. The Regulars, due to Brown were able to unite white voters through a policy of massive resistance to the desegregation of public schools and the civil rights movement. Boyd ascertains “Brown changed the dynamics of Georgia politics, but in terms of momentum, not trajectory, it was a pivot point, not a turning point” (86). Georgia’s Senator Walter George read a two page document into the Congressional Record on March 11, 1956, as a defiant approach to challenging the federal government over school desegregation. The “Southern Manifesto” asked that states “resist forced integration” and “called on all white Southerners to bring about the reversal of Brown”(88). The Manifesto received tremendous support of Southern politicians. “Nineteen out twenty-two Southern Senators and eighty-one out of one hundred and five representatives signed the document”(89). The author, however, claims “this appearance of unity was a façade” (89).
Boyd traces the formation of “a pressure group: Help Our Public Education (HOPE)” (111). The lack of electoral support was a concern. The organization, therefore, could assist the debate regarding white supremacy and the “Southern Manifesto”. HOPE was created to increase support for the opposition to the massive resistance movement that was confronting civil rights in Georgia. HOPE was founded in 1958 and according to the author played “a crucial” role ending massive resistance in Georgia. Boyd insists that white opinion and the...

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