New Politics in the Old South
Ernest F. Hollings in the Civil Rights Era
Hollings's political career began in 1948, when he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He served as governor from 1959 to 1963 and then as a U.S. senator from 1966 until he retired in 2005. Ballantyne illuminates Hollings's role in forging a "southern strategy" that helped move southern Democrats away from openly endorsing white supremacy and toward acknowledging the interests of racial minorities, though this approach was halting and reluctant at times. Unlike many southern politicians who emerged as reactionary figures during the civil rights era, Hollings adapted to the changing racial politics of the 1960s while pursuing a clear course—Vietnam War hawk, fiscal conservative, regional economic booster, and free-trade opponent.
While Hollings was at times an atypical southern senator, his behavior in the 1960s and 1970s served as a model for survival as a southern Democrat. His approach to voting rights, military spending, and social and cultural issues was mirrored by many southern Democrats between the 1970s and 1990s. Hollings's career demonstrated an alternative to hard-edged political conservatism, one that was conspicuously successful throughout his Senate tenure.
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"In this examination of Fritz Hollings's political career, Ballantyne tells the story of a vital player in southern history in the second half of the 20th century. By analyzing the crucial balance that Hollings maneuvered between civil rights pressures and the opposing sentiments of white conservative constituents, Ballantyne probes the fluidity and interplay of southern politics and political moderation. This is a significant contribution to the historical narrative."—Orville Vernon Burton, Clemson University
"a thorough and thought-provoking exposé on Ernest Frederick Hollings, a man who's unique, politically astute, and useful work—as well as his brave and principled stand at the end of his governorship—set him boldly apart from the other Deep South politicians... a worthwhile read for scholars and practitioners in the fields of history and political science."—International Social Science Review
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