Pursuit of Unity: A Political History of the American South / Edition 1

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"During the nineteenth century, the South experienced nearly continuous political crisis from nullification through secession, war, and Reconstruction, concluding with the disfranchisement campaigns at centurys end. The struggle for power took a different form in the twentieth century, as the South's political class forged the Solid South and then maneuvered to perpetuate its control within the region and its influence within the nation." "But there was also continuity within this pattern of discord and crisis. First, southern politics generated - to a degree not found elsewhere in the United States - a remarkable array of unusual and colorful politicians, such as John C. Calhoun, William Mahone, James K. Vardaman, Huey Long, George Wallace, and Lyndon Johnson. Even more significant was the lack of a competitive, two-party politics for the better part of the more than two centuries since the nations founding. For most of the nineteenth century, the Souths political system was characterized by the dominance of one party, the Democrats, and in the twentieth, by the one-party monopoly known as the Solid South." This propensity toward one-party politics differentiated the South and its political history from the rest of the country. But since the passage of the momentous Voting Rights Act in 1965, one-party politics has all but disappeared and, along with it, the Souths pursuit of unity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An important new study.—Journal of American History

A welcome addition to the literature. . . .Perman should be applauded for undertaking such an ambitious synthesis. Those looking to refresh their knowledge of the southern political past, or those who lack such knowledge in the first place, will do well to consult this book." —The Journal of Southern History


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807872284
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Perman is research professor in the humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has written or edited seven books in American history, including Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888-1908 and Emancipation and Reconstruction. He has also held a Guggenheim Fellowship and won three book prizes.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I One-Party Dominance, 1800-1861

1 A One-Party South: Republican Ascendancy 11

2 A Two-Party South : Whigs and Democrats 38

3 A One-Party South Again: Democratic Ascendancy 60

Pt. II No-Party Politics, 1861-1865

4 Politics without Parties: The Confederacy 97

5 Party Politics under Assault: Reconstruction 117

6 Achieving Democratic Hegemony: The 1880s 142

7 Eliminating the Opposition: The 1890s 157

Pt. IV One-Party System, 1901-1965

8 Democrats and Demagogues in the Solid South 185

9 Reform and Reaction in the Solid South 204

10 The New Deal Challenge to the Solid South 225

11 The Liberal Challenge in the 1940s 248

12 The Solid South under Attack: White Defiance 263

13 The Solid South under Attack: Black Gains 288

Pt. V From One Party to Two, 1965-1994

14 Old Responses and New Direction, 1965-1980 307

15 The Emergence of a Two-Party South since 1980 334

Notes 359

Bibliography 369

Index 379

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