The unique political history of the Southern United States is rooted in the fact that it is the only region to have ever taken up arms against the national government. While the resources of the North prevailed after the four bloody years of the Civil War, the consequences of the practice of slavery and the bitter loss experienced by the South continue to shape southern politics a century and a half later. The twenty-three essays included in The Oxford Handbook of Southern Politics present a definitive view of the factors that contribute to this region's distinctive politics, examining these factors in the context of the South's political development since World War II. Following an introductory essay by editors Charles S. Bullock III and Mark J. Rozell, five chapters survey the past seventy-five years of the region's political history, looking in particular at the Civil Rights Movement, urbanization of the South, and the area's economy and changing demographics. Four chapters will then take a closer look at the influence of particular demographics, including religious conservatives, women, and Latinos. This will be followed by chapters on the rise of the Republican Party, southern political attitudes, and political and economic development in the Southern Black Belt. Subsequent chapters will examine political parties, voting and elections, including party organizations and activists, the mainstreaming of the Republican Party, realignment, party building, and Deep South politics. The five chapters of the final section will look at the South's impact on national politics, at the executive and congressional levels, legislatively and on the nation more generally.