Solid South

The Solid South or Southern bloc was the electoral voting bloc of the states of the Southern United States for issues that were regarded as particularly important to the interests of Democrats in those states. The Southern bloc existed especially between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. During this period, the Democratic Party controlled state legislatures; most local and state officeholders in the South were Democrats, as were federal politicians elected from these states. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Southern Democrats disenfranchised blacks in all Southern states, along with a few non-Southern states doing the same as well. This resulted essentially in a one-party system, in which a candidate's victory in Democratic primary elections was tantamount to election to the office itself. White primaries were another means that the Democrats used to consolidate their political power, excluding blacks from voting in primaries.[1]

Arkansas voted Democratic in all 23 presidential elections from 1876 through 1964; other states were not quite as solid but generally supported Democrats for president.

The "Solid South" is a loose term referring to the states that made up the voting bloc at any point in time. The Southern region as defined by U.S. Census comprises sixteen states plus Washington, D.C.—Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.[2] The idea of the Solid South shifted over time and did not always necessarily correspond to the census definition. After Reconstruction, all the former slave states were dominated by the Democratic Party for at least two decades. Delaware, the least secessionist slave state, was considered a reliable state for the Democratic Party,[3] as was Missouri, classified as a Midwestern state by the U.S. Census. From the early part of the 20th century on, Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, and West Virginia ceased to be reliably Democratic (although West Virginia once again became a reliably Democratic state with the New Deal era).


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