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Book Cover for: Whistling Dixie: Ronald Reagan, the White South, and the Transformation of the Republican Party, Jonathan Bartho

Whistling Dixie: Ronald Reagan, the White South, and the Transformation of the Republican Party

Jonathan Bartho

Jonathan Bartho's Whistling Dixie explores the interdependent political relationship between Ronald Reagan and the white conservative South, a relationship that had a profound impact on Reagan's own career, on the political landscape of the South and the entire United States, and on the identity of the modern Republican Party. Millions of southerners were attracted to the GOP by Reagan's anti-statist ideology and their affection for the man himself--an affection that had been built over decades of appearances in the region. The support of these white southern conservatives was crucial to Reagan's political success, ultimately propelling him to the White House in 1980. Conversely, by supporting Reagan's presidential campaigns, southern conservatives were able to influence the direction of the Republican Party and begin restoring their region to a position of power in Washington.

Bartho deftly provides a new perspective on Reagan's political career and the Republican Party of the Reagan era while detailing the often-rancorous philosophical differences between Reaganism and southern conservatism and the resulting political conflicts. Whistling Dixie highlights a divide in the Republican Party and in American conservatism that has often been overlooked--a divide that laid the foundations for the GOP's southernization and ultimately led to the rise of Donald Trump.

Book Details

  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publish Date: Mar 15th, 2024
  • Pages: 320
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00in - 6.00in - 0.88in - 1.37lb
  • EAN: 9780700636495
  • Categories: United States - 20th CenturyAmerican Government - Executive BranchPolitical Ideologies - Conservatism & Liberalism

About the Author

Bartho, Jonathan: -

Jonathan Bartho is an independent scholar and researcher who specializes in US History.

Praise for this book

"For anyone who wants to understand how reactionary populism took root in the Republican Party, Jonathan Bartho's Whistling Dixie is required reading. Bartho's history of white Southerners' tempestuous love affair with Ronald Reagan explains the GOP's southern ascendency, the Republican Party's ongoing fight between economic libertarians, and 'America First' populists, as well as the social conservatism that has only deepened its hold over the GOP's base."--David Farber, author of The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism: A Short Story

"Accessible, engaging, and frequently insightful, Jonathan Bartho's Whistling Dixie is a surprisingly fresh contribution to the tidal wave of literature that has been produced on the rise of modern American conservatism over the past three decades. By acutely focusing on Ronald Reagan's relationship with the white South--before and during his presidency--Bartho says something new about the reciprocal nature of ideological and cultural politics. More simply, this is a story about how Reagan changed the South and how the South changed the Republican Party. If you think you already know this story, think again."--Sean Cunningham, author of Bootstrap Liberalism: Texas Political Culture in the Age of FDR, and Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right, and American Politics in the Postwar Sunbelt: Conservative Growth in a Battleground Region

"Jonathan Bartho's Whistling Dixie offers a nuanced, even-handed analysis of a controversial topic and presents a compelling argument that the relationship between Reagan and white southerners was more complicated and contentious than political historians have often assumed. This thoughtful and informative book not only sheds new light on the politics of the 1980s but also gives readers the historical background to understand why the Republican Party eventually abandoned Reagan's ideology and endorsed the politics of Donald Trump."--Daniel K. Williams, author of God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right