Chapter

“Gun Cotton”: Southern Industrialists, International Trade, and the Republican Party in the 1950s

Katherine Rye Jewell

in Painting Dixie Red

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036847
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043999 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813036847.003.0010
“Gun Cotton”: Southern Industrialists, International Trade, and the Republican Party in the 1950s

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This chapter argues that changes in foreign trade during the 1950s pushed conservative southern industrialists (traditionally Democrats) into close cooperation with northern Republicans increasingly dedicated to trade protectionism. And, the chapter argues, this newfound closeness on trade actually allowed for stronger congruence with Republicans than was offered by solidarity on racial segregation. It confirmed southern and northern industrialist suspicions of the dangers in centralized bureaucratic government operating free from legislative or judicial oversight—though internationalists justified such power as key in the fight against the spread of communism. Foreign trade issues in the mid-1950s built on the centrifugal pressure of the Dixiecrat Movement and helped push southern industrialists into greater cooperation with congressional Republicans. Thus, while the breaks with the Democratic Party formed over the issue of states' rights, economic issues like trade protectionism helped exacerbate those cracks while also building bridges to the GOP.

Keywords: Donald Comer; Cotton and Textiles; International Trade; Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act; Japan; Tariffs; States' Rights

Chapter.  7933 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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