Social Question

capet's avatar

Should FDR have told the South to F off?

Asked by capet (988points) February 7th, 2021

Three points to set up this question.

1. There were a lot of elements of FDR’s coalition and he was a complicated guy. But I think it’s fair to say that he agreed more often with the “non-southern”, less-racist, more-socialist parts of his coalition. (Feel free to challenge this part) (Obviously the people in power from both groups did not necessarily represent all their constituent, nor would everyone fit nicely into one group or the other).

2. It also seems like there is a consensus among historians that this part of his coalition often had to “compromise” with the southern coalition.

3. However, it seems like the Democrats completely crushed the Republicans in the house, senate, and presidential elections from 1930–1938, with the exception of the 1930 senate election.

So my question is this: Obviously hindsight is 2020, the New Deal coalition had lots of “moving parts,” public relations was much fuzzier back then, and I haven’t dug into the numbers. But would it have made sense, given what FDR and friends knew at the time (say between 1930 and 1938), at some point to tell the South to f*** off and implement more radical legislation?

(I’m mostly thinking of the more well-known racist elements of the new deal like sharecropper and tenant protections under the AAA; the exclusion of certain workers from the NLRA and the FLSA; and the way the FHA and HOLC were run).

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

2 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You forget that much of the most racist property and labor laws were supported by Northern and Western states. Oregon’s “whites only” laws weren’t repealed until 1926; Woodrow Wilson’s racist housing laws had only been around for fifteen years when FDR took office.

The biggest, most active and virulent group of the KuKlux Klan was in Indiana.

FDR couldn’t tell the South to F off because the majority of the country supported those policies. The US has been inherently racist since the founding.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This question misses the significance of the Southern states to the Democratic party. In fact, the term for the region was “the solid South”. In the days of Roosevelt, there could be no viable opposition to the Republicans at the Federal level without the racist South, a region so regressively conservative that the crippling effects distinguish it to the present day. As a practical matter, there was no writing off the South for the Democratic party.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther