The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932-1968

By Kari Frederickson

336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 illus., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4910-1
    Published: March 2001
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-7544-5
    Published: January 2003

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Awards & distinctions

2002 Harry S. Truman Book Award, Harry S. Truman Library Institute

In 1948, a group of conservative white southerners formed the States' Rights Democratic Party, soon nicknamed the "Dixiecrats," and chose Strom Thurmond as their presidential candidate. Thrown on the defensive by federal civil rights initiatives and unprecedented grassroots political activity by African Americans, the Dixiecrats aimed to reclaim conservatives' former preeminent position within the national Democratic Party and upset President Harry Truman's bid for reelection. The Dixiecrats lost the battle in 1948, but, as Kari Frederickson reveals, the political repercussions of their revolt were significant.

Frederickson situates the Dixiecrat movement within the tumultuous social and economic milieu of the 1930s and 1940s South, tracing the struggles between conservative and liberal Democrats over the future direction of the region. Enriching her sweeping political narrative with detailed coverage of local activity in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina--the flashpoints of the Dixiecrat campaign--she shows that, even without upsetting Truman in 1948, the Dixiecrats forever altered politics in the South. By severing the traditional southern allegiance to the national Democratic Party in presidential elections, the Dixiecrats helped forge the way for the rise of the Republican Party in the region.

About the Author

Kari Frederickson is associate professor of history at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
For more information about Kari Frederickson, visit the Author Page.

Reviews


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"A fine example of the 'new' southern political history. . . . Frederickson offers a well-researched, eloquent, and absorbing account of political failure and change, one that contributes greatly to our understanding of the often ironic nature of southern political life in the mid-twentieth century."--Journal of Southern History

"A satisfying read."--Journal of American History

"Frederickson excels at showing how both race and economic issues influenced the Dixiecrat movement."--Gulf South Historical Review

"Frederickson's book makes several important contributions to our understanding of post-World War II politics in the South. . . . As a result, we have a clearer idea of why southerners voted--or did not vote--for Thurmond and Wright."--American Historical Review

"A lively and perceptive account."--The Weekly Standard

"Excellent, marked by superb research and sparkling prose."--Choice