Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

This is not a cotton picker's dream: Race, regions, and conservative politics in the United States, 1954-1975
by Howison, Jeffrey D., Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2010, 220; 3413607
Abstract (Summary)

This project explores the relationship between the backlash against the civil rights movement, broadly conceived, and the shaping of conservative political organizations and ideology taking place at the margins of the southern United States, in three of the border states: Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland. One of the primary contributions of this regional framework is an implicit criticism of “southern exceptionalism” idea, which has been central to various aspects of the historically-oriented scholarship on social and political change in the United States. After a review of the scholarship and an overview of the historical development of the border states in relation to U.S. regionalism, this project utilizes a variety of primary sources in three additional research chapters. The first offers an analysis of the reapportionment conflict through the lens of the National Commission on Constitutional Government, an organization that was headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri, between 1964 and 1966. The second concerns racial violence in two Maryland cities, Cambridge (1967) and Baltimore (1968), and argues that these events were central to the ideological orientation of Spiro Agnew, the state's governor who would popularize the conservative commitment to “law and order” while serving as Vice President in the Nixon administration. The final research chapter illustrates the limitations of the law and order ideology among border state conservatives through a discussion of the suburban riots in Louisville, Kentucky, which occurred during the first weeks of the 1975–76 school year, on the heels of the merging of the Jefferson County and Louisville school districts and subsequent debates about “forced busing”.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Murray, Martin J., Martin, William G.
Commitee: Haines, Herbert, West, Michael O.
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American history, Social structure
Keywords: Conservative politics, Political organizations
Publication Number: 3413607
ISBN: 978-1-124-14574-7
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