Great Book on Strom Thurmond

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As noted on this blog before, by 1980, a major shift transpired in which Ronald Reagan swept the South and the rest of the nation in a promise of restoring conservatism. Much of this promise was born on Reagan’s promise to reduce the size of the government, and to restore social order brought about during the decades of the 1960s and the 1970s. Again, much of the progress during the 60s and the 70s were aimed at aiding gays/lesbians and racial minorities. Many southerners today are simply a product of political realignment. Thus, they once embraced Jim Crow policies until federal legislation and the Supreme Court deemed it illegal. Conservatives reacted to the forced political actions of the federal government by seeking conservative candidates who would embrace the ideology of states’ rights. In 1980, Reagan clearly endorsed this position, which was clear by his objection to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965; it was his position that the federal government could not legislate discrimination among civilians. Joe Crespino argues the relationship between the Republican Party of today and the Christian Right began under Strom Thurmond. This emergence took hold in advance of the rise of Barry Goldwater and Reagan. Crespino’s book is simply fantastic.

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