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Racial RealignmentThe Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932-1965$
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Eric Schickler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153872

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153872.001.0001

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Civil Rights and New Deal Liberalism in the Mass Public

Civil Rights and New Deal Liberalism in the Mass Public

(p.101) Chapter 5 Civil Rights and New Deal Liberalism in the Mass Public
Racial Realignment

Eric Schickler

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the mass-level story of civil rights realignment among whites. The conventional understanding is that New Deal economic liberalism and racial liberalism were not related among whites until the 1960s or perhaps the late 1950s. The chapter shows that among northern whites, both Democratic partisanship and economic liberalism were linked to support for the major civil rights initiatives on the agenda in the late 1930s and 1940s. Although partisanship was uncorrelated with civil rights views among southern whites, economic conservatism was related to more conservative civil rights views. This connection between economic and racial conservatism in the South provided fertile ground for the GOP's eventual “southern strategy.” Ultimately, economically liberal northern Democrats provided much stronger support for most of the leading civil rights policy initiatives on the agenda than did economically conservative Republicans.

Keywords:   civil realignment, New Deal, economic liberalism, racial liberalism, Democratic partisanship, civil rights initiatives, economic conservatism, racial conservatism, Democrats, Republicans

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