Essay about Slavery And The Civil War

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Segregationists used the memory of slavery and the Civil War as a political tool to oppose desegregation in the southern United States. Politicians like George Wallace and the Dixiecrats used the guise of states rights to justify legal discrimination against Black Americans. The states rights rhetoric is explicitly tied to the white southerners’ memory of slavery and the Civil War —a memory these politicians appropriated to serve their cause. Wallace himself compared the Confederacy to the original founding fathers and their rebellion against colonial rule, fighting not to continue the institution of slavery, but rather to preserve liberty. There was a change in the popular memory, and a removal of Black Americans from the narrative, which developed out of the overt racism of the 1910s and preceding decades and continued to develop through the election of 1968. This change reduced the overt racism which had informed and permeated through rhetoric surrounding slavery and segregation. The cultural shift to the States’ Rights justification of the Civil War, and erasure of Black Americans and slavery from the narrative, enabled Southern politicians to appeal to a nostalgic past for political support, and masked legalized racial discrimination under the guise of freedom, liberty and democracy. This move away from overt racist ideology and to increasingly subtle references to racism and a racial past as also enabled the implementation of the Republican Party’s Southern Strategy…

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