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oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jimmy Carter [exact date unavailable], 1974. Interview A-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The South is now a bellwether for the nation, rather than a backward region

The South was perceived as backward, but both parties have realized that the average southern voter represents national attitudes in general.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jimmy Carter [exact date unavailable], 1974. Interview A-0066. 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

JIMMY CARTER:
Yes. Compared to previous years, you mean? Well, I've lived all over the country, you know, in Connecticut and New York and Hawaii and California and so forth, in the Navy. Virginia. And in the past there has been a tendency on the part of the rest of the nation to look on the South as kind of a backward region, as you know, economically. And very ultra-conservative politically. And completely wedded to one basic political philosophy. Now, I believe an accurate assessment would be that the rest of the nation, particularly those who are interested in politics, look on the South as a bellweather portion of the nation. And consider the average southern voter to be very representative of what the nation feels about politics on major issues. This is an all-pervasive belief. And I'll give you an illustration that at least proves it in my own mind. Without any prior planning at all, both the national Democratic and Republican party within the last year have turned to the Southeast for leadership in an almost unbelievable degree.