Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

First Advisor

Carville V. Earle


This dissertation examines the rise of the Republican Party in the South from 1948 to 1996. The South includes all the states of the Confederacy minus Virginia. This dissertation subdivides the South into nine geopolitical regions at the county/parish level and then examines the regional contributions to the rise of the Republican Party. The nine geopolitical regions are The Deep South, The Piedmont Up-Country, The Mountain South, The Ozarks, South Florida, French Louisiana, East Texas, West Texas, and Mexican Texas. The dissertation first tests for spatial autocorrelation in the South and the nine geopolitical regions. The South has two eras of spatial autocorrelation; one era of high spatial autocorrelation from 1948 to 1968 and another era of lowered spatial autocorrelation from 1972 to 1996. The Deep South, Piedmont Up-Country, and Mountain South followed that pattern to some degree but they also have a transitional period. From 1964 to approximately 1980 there is a transitional phrase of alternating degrees of spatial autocorrelation and high and low levels of Republican voting. South Florida, the Ozarks and French Louisiana experiences low or little spatial autocorrelation. The three regions of Texas all have low to moderate degrees of spatial autocorrelation. Structural and structural-spatial multiple regression analysis found that in the Deep South and Piedmont Up-Country, race, religion, and urbanism are more important factors. In the Deep South racial and religious factors dominate, while in the Rimland South, race and social concerns are less dominant in favor of income, education, and migration. Southern Baptist populations in the Deep South and Piedmont Up-Country switched from hurting to helping the GOP after 1972. Economic factors such as income and education have greater impact in the non-Deep Southern regions. Migration may be beginning to work against the Republican Party in all regions except for West Texas. Space is an important factor in all regions except for South Florida, the Ozarks, and French Louisiana. But the role of space waned through time. As the Republican vote became less clustered and higher it became less spatially dependent and structural factors dominated.