“The Dread Handwriting Is on the Wall”: Confronting the New Republican South

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“The Dread Handwriting Is on the Wall”: Confronting the New Republican South

by Mac McCorkle
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 1: Politics (1998)

"Caution in predicting the southern political weather might seem to be in order."

The young W. J. Cash penned these words after Herbert Hoover’s conquest of North Carolina, as well as three other southern states, in his 1928 presidential victory over New York’s Democratic Governor Al Smith. Cash was not the only observer foreseeing a fast-emerging Republicanism in the South. The venerable southern historian Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker declared that the national Democratic Party must “immediately” repudiate Smith’s position favoring the repeal of Prohibition. Otherwise, said Wertenbaker, “the day may not be far distant when this section [the South] will become as solidly Republican as formerly it was Democratic.”

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