Arnold Tescher

Study Questions

The Politics of Rage (1-155)




  1. In The Politics of Rage, what is Dan Carter’s thesis?  Does he make the case for his thesis?
  2. It has been said that men are the product of their history.  Can a case be made to explain how history contributed to Wallace’s view about race and white supremacy?
  3. Why does Carter afford considerable space to the relationship between Alabama governor “Big Jim” Folsom and Wallace?
  4. What reasons does Carter give to explain how and why Wallace went as far as he did in state and national politics?
  5. Why does Carter consider George Wallace to be “the most influential loser in twentieth-century politics”?
  6. What single effective approach did Wallace employ to activate his constituency?
  7. Carter discusses the transition of the Old South to the New South.  How might the conflicts of that transition relate to Wallace’s true character, according to Carter?
  8. Did Wallace identify a new constituency to which contemporary conservatism could appeal?  If so, in what ways?
  9. What does Carter mean when he speaks of the “southernization of American politics”?
  10. With respect to the University of Alabama integration standoff, Carter notes that President Kennedy’s speech that evening spoke to “the struggle for legal equality” as “a moral question.”  According to Carter, what was Wallace’s reaction to Kennedy’s pronouncement?
  11. Does Carter’s book rehabilitate George Wallace?  If so, how?  If not, why not?
  12. Is The Politics of Rage a sympathetic political biography?  What tone does the author espouse?


1) Why was George Wallace considered a political phenomenon in the south?
2) How did Wallace try to transform American politics?
3) How did Wallace Corley rise to power and national prominence on the wings of racial hatred in the 1950's and 1960's?