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A Dictionary of Contemporary World History

Jan Palmowski

Dixiecrat (USA) 

A popular name in the USA for a Democrat in a southern state opposed to desegregation. In 1948 the States Rights Democratic Party was founded by diehard Southern Democrats opposed to President Truman's renomination as Democrat candidate, on account of his stand on civil rights. Instead, they ran Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina as their presidential candidate. After Truman's victory they abandoned their presidential efforts, but continued to resist civil rights programmes in Congress. Many Dixiecrats moved to support the Republican Party in the 1960s and 1970s. A short‐lived Dixiecrat American Independent Party was formed for the 1968 elections, with the Alabama Governor George Wallace as candidate for President. The triumph of desegregation was also marked by the dissolution of the traditional southern wing of the Democratic Party. Where once there had been a ‘solid south’ which was staunchly Democrat, by the 1980s the south was dominated by Republican Senators, Congressmen, and Governors. Consequently, the Dixiecrats belonged to history as well. Thurmond joined the Republican Party in 1964, and became the longest‐serving member of the US Senate in history (1954–2002).

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