Author

Susan Parker

Date of Award

5-5-1969

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Mr. Jordan

Abstract

The election of 1978 was a unique event in the political history of Virginia. For the first time since Reconstruction the state went Republican in a national election, Herbert Hoover getting 53.9% of the total vote. This was not the beginning of a definite trend because the state did not go Republican in a presidential election again until 1952. The hold of the Democratic Party over the people appeared as strong as ever on both the local and national levels after this bolt.

Since the Civil War the Republican Party in the South had been identified with Reconstruction, emancipation, and civil rights for Negroes. It usually had little support. In Virginia this tendency to a one-party system was accentuated by the lack of several strong factions within the Democratic Party, as was usual in most of the rest of the South. One Democratic faction had the loyalty of most of the voters. The "machine" or "organization" had been under the direction of Senator Claude Swanson and Thomas Martin, but control was passing to Governor Harry F. Byrd in the late 1920's. State leaders had a high degree of control over local leaders, and the organization was generally well co-ordinated over the entire state. The Virginia Democratic leaders, Senators Claude A. Swanson and Carter Class, and Governor Byrd, remained loyal in 1928. Glass helped write the Democratic platform in the party's Houston convention, and after the convention all three visited the nominee, New York Governor Alfred E. Smith, in Albany to advise him on the campaign.

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