"The Fruits of Fracture: The Corporate West, the United Farm Workers' Movement, and the Rise of Reaganism in American Politics"
Presented by Todd Holmes
Historian Todd Holmes will discuss the consequential shifts in business and party politics during the governorship of Ronald Reagan and the overlooked role the boycott campaigns of César Chávez and the UFW played in this transformation of political economy. The book traces how the vibrant consumer politics employed by the UFW against the Corporate West—especially its economic hub, California agribusiness—fractured the political center and profoundly altered the relationship between the western business community and both political parties. Democrats turned against business in favor of a new coalition largely based on that of the UFW. Republicans, on the other hand, moved away from moderate positions to embody the conservative and more business-friendly posture of the Reagan Administration. This realignment set the stage for the policy debates that would erupt in California and the nation during the following decades. It also proved to be the defining factor in the political and economic phenomenon that became known as Reaganism.
Governor Ronald Reagan at press conference
(Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library)
About the Speaker: Todd Holmes is a postdoctoral scholar with the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. A native of Sacramento, Todd earned a BA and MA in History at California State University, Sacramento, and a PhD in History at Yale University. He is the author of numerous articles on California politics, western agribusiness, and environmental policy. At Yale, he served four years as the Program Coordinator for James C. Scott’s Agrarian Studies Program and is currently the principal researcher of the California Coastal Commission Project at Stanford University.
in partnership with
The California State Archives, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, provides a permanent repository for the state's governmental records as well as other materials documenting California history. The California State Archives serves a wide variety of researchers whose interests range from legislative intent and public policy to genealogy and railroad history in California.
As part of its efforts to engage the public in California’s history, the California State Archives also offers a newsletter, behind-the-scenes tours, exhibits, hands-on training, and a popular speaker series.
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