Title: Oral History Interview with Claude Pepper, February 1, 1974. Interview A-0056.
Interviewer: DeVries, Walter
Interviewee: Pepper, Claude
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
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.