Congressional Parties and Civil Rights Politics from 1933 to 1972

The Journal of Politics, Vol. 72, No. 3, pp. 672-89, July 2010

18 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2011 Last revised: 4 Oct 2014

Eric Schickler

University of California, Berkeley

Kathryn Pearson

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis

Brian D. Feinstein

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

The reversal in the Democratic and Republican parties’ positions on civil rights is widely viewed as one of the most important political transformations in the last century. Drawing upon new indicators of members’ support for civil rights - which more effectively gauge preferences than do the roll-call based measures analyzed in previous studies - we show that northern Democrats displaced northern Republicans as the leading advocates of civil rights in the House beginning in the mid-1940s, and that the gap gradually increased thereafter. Rather than a relatively sudden change driven by national party elites, we argue that the civil rights realignment was a response to the two parties’ coalitional partners.

Keywords: realignment, partisan realignments, civil rights, political coalitions, Congress, roll call votes, discharge petitions

Suggested Citation

Schickler, Eric and Pearson, Kathryn and Feinstein, Brian D., Congressional Parties and Civil Rights Politics from 1933 to 1972 (2010). The Journal of Politics, Vol. 72, No. 3, pp. 672-89, July 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1923250

Eric Schickler

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Kathryn Pearson

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis ( email )

110 Wulling Hall, 86 Pleasant St, S.E.
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Brian D. Feinstein (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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