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The Door of HopeRepublican Presidents and the First Southern Strategy, 1877–1933$
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Edward O. Frantz

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813036533

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813036533.001.0001

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Introduction Race, Republicans, and Region

Introduction Race, Republicans, and Region

The Context for Presidential Tours of the South

(p.1) Introduction Race, Republicans, and Region
The Door of Hope

Edward O. Frantz

University Press of Florida

Presidential tours were not entirely new phenomena in American public life when Rutherford B. Hayes embarked upon his tour of the South in September 1877. Prior to that, however, following the precedent of George Washington, who had visited all of the states when he was president, early American leaders found such journeys an excellent way to connect with the people. This function was particularly critical in the era before public opinion polls. Presidents were afforded time to listen to citizens, who in turn were offered the opportunity of beholding the chief executive with their own eyes and ears. During this era, contact with any government, let alone the federal government, was a rare occurrence for United States citizens. This interaction demonstrated the vitality of a democracy and reinforced a sense of identity as Americans. One of the changes that this book chronicles is Americans' attitudes toward these tours.

Keywords:   presidential tours, public life, Rutherford B. Hayes, South, George Washington, polls, government, United States, democracy, presidents

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