UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture 401 President Clinton Avenue Little Rock, AR, 72201 email@example.com
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UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Republican Party State Headquarters Collection, 1964-1984
6.5 Linear feet; 13 document boxes
Alphabetically by individuals, organization, or subject.
Scope and Content
This collection contains photographic prints, campaign materials, and biographical information for individuals and organizations related to the Republican Party State Headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. Folders chiefly contain materials collected by headquarters employees during the period 1967-1971, when Winthrop Rockefeller was governor. Items concern politicians and political events of local, state, and national significance. Also included are materials concerning Republican women and African Americans.
The collection contains numerous photographs of state, regional, and national members of the Republican Party. Prominent Arkansas Republicans include Maurice "Footsie" Britt, Winthrop Rockefeller, Charles T. Bernard, Frank White, and Paul Hammerschmidt. Republicans of national prominence include Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Bob Dole, and George Herbert Walker Bush. The collection includes folders concerning individuals from the Democratic Party, such as George McGovern and Orval Faubus.
Also included are well known non-politicians, such as musician Johnny Cash and comedian Chet Lauck--both of whom campaigned for Rockefeller in 1968--and Bob Hope, who performed for Governor Winthrop Rockefeller at Youth Day in 1969.
A viable Republican Party did not exist in Arkansas until after the Civil War. Under the leadership of men like Clayton Powell, the Arkansas Republican Party was officially formed in April of 1867. Taking their cue from moderate Republicans who promoted big business as well as radical Republicans who used federal power to promote civil rights, white and black members of the party in Arkansas were keen to promote industry, improve infrastructure, and develop public education.
During Reconstruction, Republicans were successful in winning offices throughout Arkansas, including the governorship. However, the Democratic Party, using fraud, intimidation, and violence, while also benefiting from weariness in the North and within the federal government concerning the ongoing challenges of Reconstruction, were able to overturn Republican control of the state in 1874 following the disastrous Brooks-Baxter conflict, in which Joseph Brooks, a former abolitionist, failed to seize the governorship from his Republican rival Elisha Baxter.
Even after Arkansas was "redeemed" by Democrats who were committed to white supremacy and fiscal conservatism, the Republican Party did not disappear in Arkansas. The party was especially strong among African Americans, though they would see their power drastically diminished in the wake of Jim Crow laws and the Supreme Court's notorious 1896 decision in
Plessy v. Ferguson.
In the twentieth century, white Republicans remained strongest among the hill communities of the northwest region of the state. The year 1966 was a watershed year for Arkansas Republicans. Paul Hammerschmidt won election to the 3rd Congressional District, comprising counties of the northwest, a seat he would not relinquish until his retirement in 1992. In 1966, Arkansas politics changed dramatically with the election of Winthrop Rockefeller to the governorship. Rockefeller was the first Republican governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction.
Despite Rockefeller's reformist impulse, he was unable to win a third term to office in the 1970 election. However, throughout the 1970s, Republicans continued to gain strength in Arkansas and the South, appealing especially to conservative whites who were interested in lower taxes, evangelical religion, and suburban living.
Frank White won election to the governorship in 1980 as a Republican on the heels of the conservative "Reagan Revolution" then sweeping the nation. Unlike Rockefeller, White was not an activist governor, and he was defeated in 1982 by the still popular Bill Clinton (who had lost a reelection bid in 1980). Clinton would serve as governor for ten more years before taking the oath as the President of the United States.
Arkansas Republicans sent another member of their party to the governor's seat in 1996 when Mike Huckabee took over following the resignation of Democrat Jim Guy Tucker. Huckabee would serve as governor until January 2007. In November 2012, the Arkansas legislature became Republican-controlled for the first time since Reconstruction.
African Americans--Political activity--Arkansas--History--20th century
Arkansas--Politics and government--20th century
Bernard, Charles Taylor, 1927-
Britt, Maurice Lee, 1919-1995
Bush, George, 1924-
Cash, Johnny, 1932-2003
Dole, Robert J., 1923-
Hammerschmidt, John Paul, 1922-
Lauck, Chet, 1902-1980
Republican Party (Ark.).
Republican Party (Ark.)--History--20th century
Rockefeller, Winthrop, 1912-1973
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is available for viewing at the Arkansas Studies Institute.
Conditions Governing Use note
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17-U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this material is liable for any infringement.
Copyright for correspondence in the collections belongs to those correspondents or their beneficiaries. Persons wanting to re-use those materials are advised to obtain permission from copyright holders.
Republican Party State Headquarters Collection, 1964-1984, UALR.MS.0237. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.
Footnote or Endnote info:
Description of item, folder number, box number, Republican Party State Headquarters Collection, 1964-1984, UALR.MS.0237.