Can you imagine being a Democrat and favoring States Rights, a strong foreign policy and low taxes? In this day and age you would be hidden away like an elderly relative the family was ashamed of and kept heavily medicated lest you embarrass the young. If you grew up in Texas before 1960 – or in almost any of the States of the Confederacy – you would have embraced these beliefs and you would have had a strong voice in the national party. John Nance Garner of Texas was FDR’s first running mate just as Lyndon Johnson was Kennedy’s and although neither man thought the vice presidency was worth a thimble full of cold spit their inclusion underlined their importance.
Many have attacked Texas for monolithic politics over the years – always a one party state, always right of center and as unyielding now as they were when they crossed William Barret Travis’s line in the sand in 1836 – but this book helps to show that where some institutions may careen through history embracing every crackpot idea available Texans do in fact change – it is just that the change is at a saner pace. The change is gradual, reasoned and systemic and keeps principles in place and intact. The change that Shivers started in 1952 was not completed until the Reagan election of 1980 and has remained solid since.
Yellow dogs and Republicans : Allan Shivers and Texas two-party politics Ricky F. Dobbs College Station : Texas A&M University Press, c 2005 Hardcover. 1st ed. ii, 194 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
From the end of Reconstruction until the 1950s, Texas was classified as part of the “Solid South,” consistently electing Democrats to national, state, and local office. After World War II, however, a new politics began to emerge throughout the South that ultimately made the region as solidly Republican as it had once been Democratic.
Allan Shivers wielded extraordinary influence in this about-face. Serving as governor from 1949 to 1957, Shivers stands as an important transitional figure who, while staying within the Democratic Party all his life, nonetheless led Texas into Eisenhower’s column and toward a new political alignment.
Dobbs traces the political career of Allan Shivers from his student days at the University of Texas, through his World War II service with the 36th Infantry and various state offices, to his role within the party after leaving the governor’s mansion. Throughout, Dobbs places Shivers’s career in the context of the modernization and urbanization that changed the state and regional picture. He portrays Shivers as one of the state’s most powerful governors and compellingly shows his influence on modern Texas.