Rescinding the Civil Rights Movement : Nixon and Reagan's rhetorical racism.


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In this thesis, I analyze the similar structures of the arguments used to justify the War on Drugs and the Southern Strategy. These two key policy platforms began in the Nixon era and continued through Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and they contributed to the creation of today’s system of mass incarceration in the United States. My research offers historical connections between American policy framed as law and order initiatives and mass incarceration and identifies the thread of racism that binds them together. I begin with an introductory chapter that gives historical context and methodological justification to my argument. I then move into case studies. While my case studies provide a limited articulation of mass incarceration, they provide the rhetorical background for how mass incarceration has been historically justified, culminating in my conclusion where I provide a more in-depth articulation of modern mass incarceration.



Mass incarceration. Nixon. Reagan. Southern strategy. War on drugs. Race. Racism. Tautology. Circular reasoning. Trump.