Politics in the Border States: A Study of the Patterns of Political Organization, and Political Change, Common to the Border States: Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri

By John H. Fenton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
KENTUCKY TRENDS

KENTUCKY is a Border State. As such, the political environment is unique, partaking as it does of elements of the cultures of both North and South. In Chapter II, the struggle for power within the distinctive Border State environment was viewed from the perspective of political organization and the economic divisions of the populace. Necessarily, attention was centered upon manipulation and groupings of economic and political leaders in explaining shifts in the relative strength of the major parties in elections. However, the political change induced by manipulation and political organization is not, in and of itself, likely to endure. "Counting" may win an election or a group of elections, but it seldom affects the fundamental predispositions of the electorate.

In this chapter attention will be centered upon the type of political change that endures and becomes a part of the environment within which the political game, as described in Chapter II, is played. An effort will be made to determine the location of long-term political change in Kentucky, and to isolate some of the variables responsible.


The Background

Kentucky's political structure has its foundation in four events; the "Age of Jackson," the Civil War, the Populist period, and the Great Depression. The division of Kentucky's electorate between the Democratic and Republican parties is, in large part, a result

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