Committed to a situated historical approach to studies of Congress, this article demonstrates how the 17-state Jim Crow South composed a structurally pivotal bloc during the New Deal and Fair Deal (1933-52) due to its size and cohesion and the need for southern votes to constitute majority coalitions. Empirically, it asks how southern members deployed this capacity and with what consequences. Utilizing a multilevel coding of policy substance, it tracks whether southern roll-call behavior was consistent with Democratic Party positions and traces changes over time with consequences for lawmaking and party politics. Analytically, the article moves beyond central current debates about parties and preferences that provide no distinctive place for the South and advances situated partisanship, an approach that privileges temporality and policy substance to understand when and with regard to which issues political parties are able to organize the preferences of their members and control lawmaking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science