Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement

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How was the Democratic Party converted by its association with the civil rights movement-what political gains and losses did that association entail?

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A split appeared in the Democratic Party in 1948, where southern party loyalists who had voted for Democrats since the Civil War and before were angered by Truman's decision to integrate the military.  This led to a third party candidacy by Strom Thurmond on a segregationist platform.  This was the beginning of the end of Democratic Party dominance in southern states.  By the time Kennedy was elected as a northeastern, pro-civil rights Catholic, the split grew deeper.  There was another third party challenge by George Wallace in 1968 that drew considerable support from Democrat Hubert Humphrey, in part allowing Nixon to win.

The long range consequence of the movement of minority support away from Lincoln's Republican Party and towards the Democrat has been the loss of almost all southern states in Presidential elections and most southern seats in the Senate and House to white males.

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