Why did eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, and western North Carolina remain Republican while the rest of the South went hard Dem?

Futurist

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May 2014
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Why did eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, and western North Carolina remain Republican long after the rest of the South went hard Democratic? To elaborate on what I mean here, you can take a look at various US presidential election maps in the US. For instance, here is a map of the 1916 US presidential election:



As you'll probably notice, the Deep South was already solidly Democratic during this time, but the parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina that were located on the Appalachians still remained Republican during this time. In fact, even during FDR's extremely massive landslide in 1936, some of these areas still remained Republican and even the parts that became Democratic were much less Democratic than the rest of the Southern US:



Anyway, why did the Republicans retain a much stronger presence in these areas even while their support in the rest of the Solid South largely evaporated? Any thoughts on this?
 

Chlodio

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Aug 2016
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Even before the Civil War the Democrats had never been strong there. That was Henry Clay country. Also Andrew Johnson. And Davy Crockett as an anti-Jacksonian. The region is not necessarily voting pro-Republican so much as anti-Democrat.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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Even before the Civil War the Democrats had never been strong there. That was Henry Clay country. Also Andrew Johnson. And Davy Crockett as an anti-Jacksonian. The region is not necessarily voting pro-Republican so much as anti-Democrat.
Andrew Johnson was a Democrat, no?

Still, I do accept your point that this region might have continuously voted for the GOP as a protest against the Democrats rather than due to any love for the GOP. Interestingly enough, though, this region wasn't extraordinarily pro-Whig in the antebellum era:







Eastern Georgia and southern Louisiana also had a sizable amount of Whig support in the antebellum era but they nevertheless went hard Democratic in the age of Jim Crow.
 

Maki

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Jan 2017
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East Tennessee and West Virginia were also noted for their pro-Union stance during the Civil War. Perhaps this is connected to the question in the OP.
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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SoCal
East Tennessee and West Virginia were also noted for their pro-Union stance during the Civil War. Perhaps this is connected to the question in the OP.
Yes, this certainly might be. Still, it's quite interesting that the GOP brand survived so intact and strong in these regions--especially eastern Tennessee. I mean, I get that they might have loved the GOP for saving the Union, but over the decades, the people who still remembered the American Civil War gradually passed away and yet eastern Tennessee nevertheless remained largely Republican.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,536
Yes, this certainly might be. Still, it's quite interesting that the GOP brand survived so intact and strong in these regions--especially eastern Tennessee. I mean, I get that they might have loved the GOP for saving the Union, but over the decades, the people who still remembered the American Civil War gradually passed away and yet eastern Tennessee nevertheless remained largely Republican.
And why was the rest of the south still Democratic 100 years after the Civil War?
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
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I remember in the 1970s less than 10% of the Virginia legislature was Republican and they were pretty much all from Unionist areas. That has changed now, but it took a while.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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And why was the rest of the south still Democratic 100 years after the Civil War?
Because the Democrats were the more pro-white supremacy party? Of course, now that I think about it, there became a pro-civil rights wing in the Democratic Party at the time of the New Deal and afterwards.
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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I remember in the 1970s less than 10% of the Virginia legislature was Republican and they were pretty much all from Unionist areas. That has changed now, but it took a while.
Yeah, political inertia can be a powerful thing.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
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And why was the rest of the south still Democratic 100 years after the Civil War?
The South had very long, bitter memories about the Civil War and Reconstruction. It took about a hundred years for the South to get over that.
 
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