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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: July 2020

6 - Transforming the Twentieth-Century House


This chapter addresses the ideological transformation of political parties as they were represented by state delegations within the House of Representatives. So long as social welfare policy was kept separate from civil rights, it was politically feasible for southern delegations to support social welfare. The coupling of civil rights and social welfare led to a wholesale partisan realignment within the House as well as within the country as a whole. After keeping civil rights legislation off the congressional agenda throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the dam burst and members of both parties in the House and in the Senate confronted a politically charged climate surrounding not only civil rights legislation but social welfare legislation as well. House Democrats in the South had been fully complicit in bottling up civil rights legislation while supporting social welfare legislation in the form of the New Deal and Fair Deal initiatives.

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