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Oral History Interview with Claude Pepper, February 1, 1974. Interview A-0056. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    This relatively brief interview offers a snapshot of the South in the 1970s, when conservatism had solidified its hold on the region. Legendary Florida Democratic politician Claude Pepper describes his political career and assesses Florida's political leanings. Pepper grew more liberal as he grew older, a trend he admits is unusual. He supported the New Deal and a number of liberal policies throughout his tenure in the United States Senate, which lasted from 1934 to 1950. He proceeded to join the House of Representatives in 1963 and served there, representing the Miami area, until 1989. Pepper's career suffered because of his support for civil rights, and his political opponents exploited racism to discourage white Floridians from voting for him. Pepper believes that civil rights and the success of the New Deal—which removed the need for an active federal government—explain the political conservatism in Florida.
    Excerpts
  • Explanations for the South's shift to the right
  • The South continues on its rightward course
  • Pepper grows more liberal as time passes
  • Race as a political tool
  • Support for civil rights costs a politician his career
  • Republican-dominated Florida offers little room for liberalism
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Resources for Educators
  • Changes in Southern Politics Learning Object
  • Subjects
  • Southern States--Politics and government
  • Askew, Reubin O'Donovan, 1928-
  • Florida--Politics and government
  • Republican Party (Fla.)
  • Chiles, Lawton, 1930-
  • United States--Politics and government--1953-1961
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.