Political Science

Deep Roots: How Slavery Still Shapes Southern Politics

The lasting effects of slavery on contemporary political attitudes in the American South


Mar 10, 2020
6.13 x 9.25 in.
46 b/w illus.
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Despite dramatic social transformations in the United States during the last 150 years, the South has remained staunchly conservative. Southerners are more likely to support Republican candidates, gun rights, and the death penalty, and southern whites harbor higher levels of racial resentment than whites in other parts of the country. Why haven’t these sentiments evolved? Deep Roots shows that the entrenched views of white southerners are a direct consequence of the region’s slaveholding history. Today, southern whites who live in areas once reliant on slavery—compared to areas that were not—are more racially hostile and less amenable to policies that could promote black progress. A groundbreaking look at the ways institutions of the past continue to sway attitudes of the present, Deep Roots demonstrates how social beliefs persist long after the formal policies that created those beliefs have been eradicated.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the William H. Riker Book Award, Political Economy Section of the American Political Science Association
  • Best Book of the Year by one of Politico's Top 50 Thinkers (Sean McElwee)