The party of Lincoln and the politics of state fair employment practices legislation in the north, 1945-1964

Anthony S. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

From 1945 to 1964, more than a score of northern states passed laws mandating nondiscrimination in employment. Why did some states pass such fair employment practice (FEP) laws much more slowly than other states? This article presents archival and statistical evidence that partisan control of policy-making institutions - namely, Republican control of "veto points" in the legislative process - is associated with a substantial reduction in the likelihood that a state would pass FEP legislation, even when controlling for potentially confounding variables. This finding casts doubt on the leading account of the electoral realignment that began in the mid-1960s and culminated in the Reagan-Bush years. Well before the advent of affirmative action, key numbers of GOP officeholders - allied with organized business and motivated by a free-market, antiregulatory ideology - worked successfully to block the adoption of color-blind laws mandating formal racial equality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1713-1774
Number of pages62
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Volume112
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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