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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Bert Nettles, July 13, 1974. Interview A-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The reasons why Nettles is a Republican

Nettles reveals that he ran as a Republican because the Democrats required a loyalty oath and Wallace dominated the Democratic Party in the state. He also felt very proud of having aided in the development of a two-party system in the state.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Bert Nettles, July 13, 1974. Interview A-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK BASS:
How did you get into the Republican party in Alabama? Why did you move into the Republican party when you got politically active?
BERT NETTLES:
Well, my law partner had asked me . . . my senior law partner suggested I run against Pierre Pelham. I'd never really thought about it. I'd worked very hard at practicing law. He, of course, thought I'd run as a Democrat. This was again, you have to remember, right after the Goldwater sweep in 1964, when people thought you could probably get elected as a Republican. That the old tantamount theory had been thrown out the window. I thought about it and I felt like I could not be happy with them. The Democratic party was in complete turmoil. I was not a Wallace-ite. Wallace completely dominated legislative politics in Alabama. At that time he dominated the state committee. Bob Vance later emerged to take that situation away from him. And I couldn't sign the loyalty oath. I had voted for Goldwater in '64 though I had not been active in the campaign. And I'd voted for some other Republicans. The Democrats had a loyalty oath which they required of all candidates to sign that they had, in the previous election, supported all the Democratic nominees for office. And of course this was ignored by many, but I just felt like I'd be more comfortable in the Republican party. I never regretted that decision. It's been interesting. I felt like I've possible made more contribution in building the two party system . . . trying to do something toward building the two party system. And I am . . . I feel more at home with the majority of Republicans if you consider it on the national scene than I would be with the majority of Democrats.