Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Rightby Sean P. Cunningham
Pub. Date: 11/30/2010
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
During the 1960s and 1970s, Texas was transformed by a series of political transitions. After more than a century of Democratic politics, the state became a Republican stronghold, influenced by the public perception that the GOP seemed better prepared to handle the formidable crises the country faced. By 1980, Texas was "Reagan Country." Ultimately, Republicans… See more details below
During the 1960s and 1970s, Texas was transformed by a series of political transitions. After more than a century of Democratic politics, the state became a Republican stronghold, influenced by the public perception that the GOP seemed better prepared to handle the formidable crises the country faced. By 1980, Texas was "Reagan Country." Ultimately, Republicans dominated the Texas political landscape, holding all twenty-seven of its elected offices and carrying former governor George W. Bush to his second term as president with more than 61 percent of the Texas vote.
In Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right, Sean P. Cunningham examines the remarkable origins of Republican Texas. Utilizing extensive research drawn from the archives of four presidential libraries, gubernatorial papers, local campaign offices, and oral histories, Cunningham presents a compelling narrative of modern conservatism as it evolved in one of the nation's largest and most politically important states.
Cunningham analyzes the political changes that took place in Texas during the tumultuous seventeen-year period between John F. Kennedy's assassination and the election of Ronald Reagan. Assessing the state's geography, history, economy, and social outlook, his analysis considers the nature of the political evolution in Texas during this time, as well as the changes that occurred within the political parties themselves. He explores critical issues related to the changing political scene in Texas, including the emergence of "law and order," race relations and civil rights, the slumping economy, the Vietnam War, and the rise of a politically active Christian Right, as well as the role of iconic politicians such as Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John Connally, and John Tower.
Cowboy Conservatism demonstrates Texas's distinctive and vital contributions to the transformation of postwar American politics, revealing a vivid portrait of modern conservatism in one of the nation's most fervent Republican strongholds.
Table of Contents
List of Maps and Illustrations
1 The Eyes of Texas: Political Culture and Tradition 12
2 Growing Pains: The Politics of Extremism 40
3 Reconstructing Conservatism: Antiliberalism and the Limits of "Law and order" 68
4 "I am a Sick American": Race, Fear, and the Limits of Backlash Politics 97
5 Poisons: Establishments in Crisis 127
6 Civil War: Populist Conservatism and the 1976 Campaigns 155
7 The Gathering Storm: Republican Momentum and the Albattoss of Jimmy Carter 182
8 Revolution: Reagan and Texas in 1980 209
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