No question has loomed larger in the American experience than the role of the South. Southern Nation examines how southern members of Congress shaped national public policy and American institutions from Reconstruction to the New Deal — and along the way remade the region and the nation in their own image.
The central paradox of southern politics was how such a highly diverse region could be transformed into a coherent and unified bloc — a veritable nation within a nation that exercised extraordinary influence in politics. This book by David A. Bateman, Ira Katznelson & John S. Lapinski shows how this unlikely transformation occurred in Congress, the institutional site where the South’s representatives forged a new relationship with the rest of the nation, says a review on the Princeton University Press webiste.
Drawing on an innovative theory of southern lawmaking, in-depth analyzes of key historical sources and congressional data, Southern Nation traces how southern legislators confronted the dilemma of needing federal investment while opposing interference with the South’s racial hierarchy, a problem they navigated with mixed results before choosing to prioritize white supremacy above all else.