This book analyzes the political culture of the American Sunbelt since the end of World War II. It highlights and explains the Sunbelt's emergence during the second half of the twentieth century as the undisputed geographic epicenter for conservative Republican power in the United States. However, the book also investigates the ongoing nature of political contestation within the postwar Sunbelt, often highlighting the underappreciated persistence of liberal and progressive influences across the region. Sean P. Cunningham argues that the conservative Republican ascendancy that so many have identified as almost synonymous with the rise of the postwar American Sunbelt was hardly an easy, unobstructed victory march. Rather, it was consistently challenged and never foreordained. The history of American politics in the postwar Sunbelt resembles a rollercoaster of partisan and ideological adaptation and transformation.
About the Author
Sean P. Cunningham is Associate Professor of History at Texas Tech University. A decorated teacher, he holds a PhD in Modern American History from the University of Florida and teaches broadly in twentieth-century US history, while specializing in the history of post-1945 American political culture. His first book, Cowboy Conservatism: Texas and the Rise of the Modern Right, was published in 2010.
Table of Contents
Introduction: what is the Sunbelt ... and why is it important? 1. Convergence, metropolitanization, and anticommunism; 2. Race, rights, and the liberal consensus; 3. Wars against liberalism; 4. Southern, suburban, and Sunbelt strategies; 5. Mobilizing the religious right in the politicized 'Bible Belt'; 6. Reagan's Sunbelt, Reagan's America; 7. Shades of red, shades of blue; Epilogue. Sunbelt politics in the twenty-first century.