Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Darren Grem

Second Advisor

Rebecca Marchiel

Third Advisor

Conor Dowling

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines the changing nature of politics in the American South, specifically through the 1952 presidential election in the state of Tennessee. For much of the South’s history, the region was dominated by the Democratic party, earning it the nickname the “Solid South”. Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, the South became an aggressively one-party region in which the Republican party found little electoral success and the Democratic party reigned supreme. This partisanship began showing signs of fracturing in 1948 when southern Democrats began to leave the party over racial issues. The presidency of Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) further widened a growing intraparty divide that would greatly affect the 1952 election. In said election, Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower was able to carry four southern states, including Tennessee, effectively tapping into the Solid South voting bloc. While historians generally attribute the 1964 presidential election to the end of the Solid South, Eisenhower’s victory in 1952 nonetheless showcased a newfound political competitiveness in the region and laid the groundwork for a new age of southern politics.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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