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New Deal / New South

An Anthony J. Badger Reader

Anthony J. Badger, J. Richard Lewis

Publication Year: 2007

The twelve essays in this book, several published here for the first time, represent some of Tony Badger’s best work in his ongoing examination of how white liberal southern politicians who came to prominence in the New Deal and World War II handled the race issue when it became central to politics in the 1950s and 1960s.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xii

Tony Badger has explained that, even as a youth, he was drawn to southern politics because the shenanigans of a Huey Long or a Jim Folsom “seemed very, very different from the gray world of British politics” in the 1950s. I have to admit it stills startles me sometimes to hear a colorful anecdote about a Long or...

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pp. xiii-xxix

Jim Holt, a fine New Zealand historian of U.S. Progressivism, claimed there was always one book that so captured your interest in a subject that you would always be able to remember where and when you first read it. What... made Jim an American historian was reading Richard Hofstadter’s The Age of Reform (1955). Twenty years later

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1. Huey Long and the New Deal

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pp. 1-30

Politicians who combined demagogic appeals to lower-income white farmers, bitter denunciations of large corporations and Wall Street, and vitriolic personal abuse of their opponents were a familiar sight in the twentieth-century South. In a one-party system where the key election was the Democratic Party primary, candidates...

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2. How Did the New Deal Change the South?

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pp. 31-44

In the late 1960s the focus of New Deal historiography shifted away from Washington to the states and the localities, away from national policy making to the implementation and impact of particular New Deal programs at the local level. These studies have established as a historical truism that the New Deal was not imposed on the states by policy makers in Washington through an army of federal officials loyal...

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3. The Modernization of the South: The Lament for Rural Worlds Lost

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pp. 45-57

The outlines of the modernization of the South since 1930 are clear enough. A poor, rural, and small-town South has become a booming industrial and urban region. Government price supports and prosperity have enabled farmers to dispense with their tenant and sharecropper labor force, to mechanize, to consolidate their land...

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4. Whatever Happened to Roosevelt’s New Generation of Southerners?

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pp. 58-71

In 1934 Carl Elliott borrowed twenty-five dollars from a grocer in Vina and traveled to Tuscaloosa to study at the University of Alabama. Thrown out by the curmudgeonly president, George Denny, Elliott surreptitiously managed to register, slept under a truck the first night, and then managed to squat in the university boiler house. Eventually he became Denny’s houseboy. Two years later, Elliott was president of the student...

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5. Southerners Who Refused to Sign the Southern Manifesto

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pp. 72-87

On Monday, March 12, 1956, Georgia’s senior senator, Walter F. George, rose in the Senate to read a manifesto blasting the Supreme Court for its decision in the Brown school desegregation case. The Manifesto condemned the Court’s “unwarranted decision” as a “clear abuse of judicial power” and commended the motives of “those States which have declared the intention to resist forced integration...

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6. The White Reaction to Brown

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pp. 88-101

When the Supreme Court handed down the Brown decision, knocking out the constitutional basis for segregated education, the justices were under no illusions about the enormity of the change they were asking of the South. The southern judges, notably Hugo Black, left their colleagues in no doubt as to the extent and...

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7. “Closet Moderates”: Why White Liberals Failed, 1940–1970

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pp. 102-126

Kerr Scott was the most liberal governor of North Carolina in the twentieth century. He was elected in 1948 in an upset victory over the state treasurer, Charles Johnson. The blunt uncompromising Scott campaigned for his “branchhead boys”—isolated rural voters who lived not at the heads of the rivers but at the ends...

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8. From Defiance to Moderation: South Carolina Governors and Racial Change

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pp. 127-143

It is a great privilege to share the platform tonight with two of the men, Senator Fritz Hollings and Governor John West, who did most among the white leadership to guide South Carolina into acceptance of the end of segregation and the embrace of dynamic and diversified economic growth, the state’s move from...

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9. “When I Took the Oath of Office, I Took No Vow of Poverty”: Race, Corruption, and Democracy in Louisiana, 1928–2000

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pp. 144-167

My first concern is unashamedly self-indulgent: to look at Long and the colorful cast of characters described by Dave Robicheaux who have occupied the Louisiana governor’s mansion since. As one observer noted, “Politics plays the role in Louisiana that TV wrestling does in the rest of the nation. It is fixed. It is surreal. It is our...

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10. The Dilemma of Biracial Politics in the South since 1965

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pp. 168-180

I want to start with three predictions. In 1949 the Texas-born political scientist V. O. Key Jr. identified four devices that perpetuated conservative hegemony in the South: one-party rule, a restricted electorate, notably the disfranchisement of blacks, the malapportionment of state legislatures...

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11. Southern New Dealers Confront the World: Lyndon Johnson, Albert Gore, and Vietnam

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pp. 181-201

Gore and Johnson were very similar. They were born within a year of each other in the hill country of Tennessee and Texas. Both struggled to go to college: Gore would raise enough of a crop to pay for tuition for a semester or two at Middle Tennessee...

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12. The Anti-Gore Campaign of 1970

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pp. 202-212

At the end of 1968 Albert Gore knew he was in trouble. His opposition to the Vietnam War, his moderation on civil rights, his support of Great Society liberalism, and his advocacy of tax reform had alienated many in Tennessee. The Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August had starkly illustrated his estrangement...

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pp. 213-216

My deep gratitude to Jim Patterson and Larry Malley, who conceived of the notion of this book. Ann Holton and Sophie King prepared the manuscript in Cambridge with exemplary care. Julie Watkins, Sarah White, Debbie Self, Tom Lavoie, and...


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pp. 217-258


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pp. 259-270

About the Author, Back Cover

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pp. 304-306

E-ISBN-13: 9781610752770
E-ISBN-10: 1610752775
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557288448
Print-ISBN-10: 1557288445

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2007

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Southern States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Southern States -- History -- 1951-.
  • New Deal, 1933-1939 -- Southern States.
  • Southern States -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights movements -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century
  • Whites -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Southern States -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
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