Politics and Society in the South

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Harvard University Press, 1987 - Political Science - 363 pages
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This wide-ranging examination of the "newest" South is a leading candidate to replace the classic work by V. O. Key, now two generations old. Politics and Society in the South is a systematic interpretation of the most important national and state tendencies in southern politics since 1920. The authors begin by describing the salient features of the old southern politics, against which they then depict the emergence of the new South: the changingcomposition of the population, the growth of industry and cities, economic diversification, and the rise of an urban middle class. A major component of the greatest southern transformation since the Civil War is the altered status of blacks from a disfranchised underclass to a franchised citizenry, a change that the authors discuss in all its ramifications. The decline of the DemocraticParty is charted and related to the rise of the black vote and the transitional attitudes of white southerners. Finally, regional trends in presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial politics are set forth, and the overall political directions that are still reshaping southern politics and creating a two-party system for the first time are defined.

The authors contend that, notable improvements in race relations notwithstanding, the central tendencies in southern politics are primarily established by the values, beliefs, and objectives of the expanding white urban middle class. This is the crucible for a more competitive two-party politics that is emerging in the South.


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Old Politics New People
Industrialization and Urbanization
The Rise of MiddleClass Society
The Transformation of Southern Race Relations
The Old Order
Penetrating the Outer Color Line
The Limited Leverage of a Franchised Minority
Confronting the Intermediate Color Line
Contemporary Racial Attitudes
The Conservative Advantage in Public Opinion
The Decline of Southern Democracy
The Revival of Party Competition
The Republican Advantage in Presidential Politics
Partisan Competition for Senator and Governor
The Reshaping of Southern Politics

The Southern Electorate
The Changing Electorate

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About the author (1987)

Earl Black is Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Political Science at Rice University.

Merle Black is Asa G. Candler Professor of Politics and Government at Emory University.

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