Brad DeLong reviews an interesting exchange about a 1980 speech Ronald Reagan made that gave aid and comfort to southern racists. (If you want to extend that discussion, post your comments at his site, not here.) In the comments I came across an obvious point from “Dan’l” that I’d never read or thought of before:

“Funny how those who supported states’ rights never supported civil rights as a matter of policy within their own state.”

Amplified later by “Bernard Yomtov”:

“This is a critical and generally overlooked point. It was certainly possible to argue both that segregation was immoral and that it was the duty of the states, not the federal government, to abolish it. So far as I know, no one who opposed federal civil rights legislation on states rights grounds took this position.”

The floor is open. Did anybody do that? Unlike some of our regular commenters, I’m willing to listen to evidence that might contradict my long-held belief, in this case that “states’ rights” was and is simply code for white racism.