How did the political party of Lincoln--of emancipation--become the party of the South and of white resentment? How did Jefferson Davis's old party become the preferred choice for most southern blacks? Most scholars date these transformations to the administrations of Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan. Edward Frantz challenges this myopic view by closely examining the complex and often contradictory rhetoric and symbolism utilised by Republicans between 1877 and 1933.
Presidential journeys throughout the South were public rituals that provided a platform for the issues of race, religion, and Republicanism for both white and black southerners. Frantz skilfully notes the common themes and questions scrutinised during this time and finely crafts comparisons between the presidents' speeches and strategies while they debated the power dynamics that underlay their society.
This fresh and fast-paced volume brings new voices to the forefront by utilising the rich resources of the African American press during the administrations of Presidents Hayes, Harrison, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, and Hoover. Although these Republicans ultimately failed to build lasting coalitions in the states of the former Confederacy, their tours provided the background for future GOP victories.