The Solid South and the New Deal Coalition

The Solid South and the New Deal Coalition - The Solid...

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Unformatted text preview: The Solid South and the New Deal Coalition The significance of Reagan's racial politics only becomes clear with an understanding of the long-term role of race in American partisan politics. The story begins nearly 150 years ago, with the Civil War. In that terrible conflict, the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln led the North to victory, ending the southern system of black slavery in the process. Many embittered southern whites did not forgive the Republicans for more than a century; after Reconstruction ended in 1876, southerners rebuilt a white supremacist caste society under the virtual one-party rule of the Democratic Party. Southern Democrats, backed by the Ku Klux Klan —which functioned, in its early years, as the paramilitary wing of the Democratic Party in the South-imposed the Jim Crow system of legal segregation late in the nineteenth century, and enforced it into the middle of the twentieth. As long as Democrats at the national level supported segregation, they could count on twentieth....
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