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Steven White

Oct 18, 2019

World War II and American Racial Politics

Public Opinion, the Presidency, and Civil Rights Advocacy

Cambridge University Press 2019

purchase at bookshop.org World War II played an important role in the trajectory of race and American political development, but the War's effects were much more complex than many assume. In order to unpack these complexities and mine underutilized sources of public opinion data, Steven White had written World War II and American Racial Politics: Public Opinion, the Presidency, and Civil Rights Advocacy (Cambridge University Press, 2019). White is an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University. White offers an extensive analysis of rarely used survey data and archival evidence to assess white racial attitudes and the White house response to civil rights. Intriguingly, he shows that the white public's racial policy opinions largely DID NOT liberalize during the war against Nazi Germany and Congress remained unwilling to act on a civil rights policy agenda. Painfully aware of this, civil rights advocates shifted venues to lobby for unilateral action by the president. This book offers a reinterpretation of this critical period in American political development, as well as implications for the theoretical relationship between war and the inclusion of marginalized groups in democratic societies.

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