The political meaning of race changed during the seventies so that the regional division attendant to race throughout much of American history began to dissipate. The race problem spread more noticeably beyond the South. Also, the partisan racial divide that began to emerge in the late fifties and crystallized during the sixties began during the seventies to take the form of contradistinctive policies—that is, Republicans and Democrats began to counter each other with concrete administrative and legislative proposals to complement their opposing ideological principles. There was yet another critical development in racial politics during the seventies: race came to assume an even more important role in party politics than it had in earlier years.
Still, even as the broad political meaning of race changed in critical ways during the seventies, the end result within America’s governing institutions continued to be that of broken processes and, even more, broken promises. In particular, the procedures used to enact the civil rights laws of the seventies were less deviant from the norm than were the procedures of the late fifties and sixties; however, the parliamentary dimensions of civil rights policymaking were still abnormal—only less so. Also, the provisions of the seventies legislation were inadequate to the task of altering persistent racial inequalities, much like their precursors. In fact, the seventies legislative initiatives were in many respects even more of a failure because they were further from their intended mark than the sixties legislation.
Advocates had hoped during the seventies to shore up many of the civil rights laws originally passed during the sixties. Specifically, they sought en-